Administration Building

Following the advice of law enforcement officials, Texas A&M has cancelled the white lives matter event scheduled for September 11, 2017 in consideration of safety. 

In a press release, the university also cited its policy change concerning guest speakers as a reason for cancelling the event. 

"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." 

Wiginton, organizer of the event said this is a dangerous policy to set and takes away from his civil rights.

"What they've said is the first amendment doesn't apply to white people," Wiginton said. "We are in a new era of civil rights and it will be white people fighting for their rights." 

Student Body President Bobby Brooks said he is glad to see students can now come to campus without fearing white supremacists.  

"Students have come from a multitude of backgrounds and sacrificed many things to attend Texas A&M, and they have the right to go to classes without fearing for their safety," Brooks said. "White supremacy and the violence that has accompanied it are most certainly 'Bad Bull.'"

Following the speech of Richard Spencer and subsequent protests, the university changed its policy regarding guest speakers. 

"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." 

Adam Key, event organizer of BTHOHate said in a press release his organization is proud of his university for shutting the rally down.

“At the same time, we are touched by the support and dedication of the members of the Aggie community and beyond," Key said. "We plan to keep that momentum going by holding our own event.”

Key also said his organization hopes to host an event in the same sport Wiginton planned to on the same day.

"The event will keep the same name, BTHOHate, but now serve the cause of combating hatred that affects students in their everyday lives," Key said. 

In response to the threat of safety to protestors and counter-protestors, Wigninton said it would not have been a concern. 

"That's why you have the police," Wiginton said. "When black lives matter was here in November they rolled out the red carpet. But when white lives matter wants to come to A&M and express political concerns... we're denied."

Seemingly the largest worry from the university came from Wiginton's original press release about the event titled, “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)."

Wiginton said he and lawyers will be seeking legal action regarding this issue in consideration to their first amendment rights. 

"We do plan on legal action, we do plan to continue forward," Wiginton said. 

The university stated they have supported first amendment rights in the past, but given the recent turn of events, safety is too large of a concern. 

"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."

Josh McCormack is an English senior.

(3) comments

Aggie91DavisGary

Reading his comments, I have to say I am not a fan, but can we just all agree that we shouldn't care about what race when talking about supremacy? Can we just point out "ANY racial supremacy talk" is unacceptable. By de-platforming him, you make him a martyr, give him legal options. Why would A&M allow any (Race) Life Matters? Has A&M become more racist since I was there in '91? Is the College Police, Bryan, and College Station police killing black people without cause? Are there "poop swastika" on campus these days?

no0ne108

A message from an Aggie (class of 2010) to non-Aggies visiting this article due to network/mainstream coverage of the event and controversy:

I went to school with Preston. When he was a student, he organized an event hosting far-right UK politician and holocaust and climate change denier Nick Griffin. Griffin gave a talk in Rudder Tower which centered mostly on the Muslim "threat" to the West. He brought a small entourage of men with shaved heads that looked like mafia enforcers. It was surreal. The roughly 30 students' response during Q&A was overwhelmingly hostile. Preston does not represent the student body at A&M.

I imagine today's crop of students are even more inclined to resist this kind of twisted exclusivity. Yes, there is still overt and covert racism (and sexism, etc.), occasionally even coupled with violence. We shouldn't ignore that. However, even a decade ago change was in the wind. I witnessed a real shift in student attitudes during my four years. Instead of ignoring or refusing to recognize the problem of racism, students increasingly fought against it. The Gates administration also actively pursued policies designed to bring in more minority and low-SES students.

There will be some supporters, both within and without the student population, and you will see them prominently featured in the news because sensationalism sells. But remember, A&M has almost SIXTY-SEVEN THOUSAND students, of which over 5400 are international students. If you evaluate A&M based on the actions of a few outliers, you make the same error as Preston and Nick Griffin when they declare all Muslims a threat to world peace because of the actions of a few bad apples.

As a final note, I want to make a point you won't see anywhere else. A&M is a college like any other; it's full of young people unexposed to the wider world with undeveloped minds and a lot of hormones swirling around. Many will seek the validation and sense of self-worth that belonging to a family or tribe can bring (consider gangs). Some will fall for the idea that their greater family is delimited by ethnicity. Have compassion for these kids. Be patient. I was one of them, but people change, and there is always hope for the future.

I know we are already seeing a lot of Aggies stand up to Preston and the ideas he represents. Good on you all, and gig'em!

chetbrewer

Glad to see that the invitation has been rescinded and probably should never have been made. A lot of aggies died 1941-1945 to eliminate what these swastika waving fools represent and it dishonors them to allow them around the MSC Class of 77 here

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