Texas A&M cancels "White Lives Matter" event

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp has cancelled A "White Lives Matter" event that was scheduled for September 11, 2017 at Texas A&M due to safety concerns, Representative John Raney confirmed.

Preston Wiginton, the same man who organized Richard Spencer speaking at the university in December 2016, planned the September 11 event to "continue the flow and growth of the Alt Right message," according to a press release. 

READ: Event organizer responds to bringing founder of "Alt-Right" to speak at Texas A&M in December

This all comes after a violent weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia where one woman was killed and 19 others were injured after violent clashes between white supremacists and counter protesters.

READ: Charlottesville suspect James Alex Fields denied bail

Texas A&M released the following statement:

COLLEGE STATION, Aug. 14, 2017 -- After consultation with law enforcement and considerable study, Texas A&M is cancelling the event scheduled by Preston Wiginton at Rudder Plaza on campus on September 11 because of concerns about the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and the public.

Texas A&M changed its policy after December’s protests so that no outside individual or group could reserve campus facilities without the sponsorship of a university-sanctioned group. None of the 1200-plus campus organizations invited Preston Wiginton nor did they agree to sponsor his events in December 2016 or on September 11 of this year. With no university facilities afforded him, he chose instead to plan his event outdoors for September 11 at Rudder Plaza, in the middle of campus, during a school day, with a notification to the media under the headline “Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M.”

Linking the tragedy of Charlottesville with the Texas A&M event creates a major security risk on our campus. Additionally, the daylong event would provide disruption to our class schedules and to student, faculty and staff movement (both bus system and pedestrian).

Texas A&M’s support of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech cannot be questioned. On December 6, 2016 the university and law enforcement allowed the same speaker the opportunity to share his views, taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure a peaceful event. However, in this case, circumstances and information relating to the event have changed and the risks of threat to life and safety compel us to cancel the event.

Finally, the thoughts and prayers of Aggies here on campus and around the world are with those individuals affected by the tragedy in Charlottesville.

 

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