Texas A&M Halts 'White Pride' Rally

Its organizer is now threatening to sue over First Amendment violation
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2017 7:57 AM CDT
Texas A&M Halts 'White Pride' Rally
White supremacist Richard Spencer speaks at Texas A&M University on Dec. 6, 2016.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

(Newser) – Texas A&M has canceled a "White Lives Matter" event that was billed by its organizer as "Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M." While stressing its commitment to the First Amendment, the university on Monday announced that the Sept. 11 event will not go ahead because its association with the protests in Charlottesville "creates a major security risk on our campus." That drew swift condemnation from event organizer Preston Wiginton, who had said the event would "sponsor white identity and white pride" and "protest the liberal anti-white agenda," per Texas A&M's Battalion. Complaining of a First Amendment violation, Wiginton tells the Houston Chronicle he plans to sue Texas A&M, whose officials "think they're above the law."

Texas A&M, however, says its support for free speech "cannot be questioned" since it allowed white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak at the school in December. Rather than cancel that event, Texas A&M condemned Spencer's "odious, reprehensible ideas" and held its own event in opposition. Spencer was to return to Texas A&M in September. But "in this case, circumstances and information relating to the event have changed," presenting "risks of threat to life and safety," school officials say. State Rep. John Raney, a Texas A&M alum, announced the event's cancellation on the House floor Monday, claiming social media users had vowed to bring guns. Spencer is still in talks to speak at the University of Florida on Sept. 12, per USA Today. (Read more Texas A&M stories.)

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