Yesterday Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas officially canceled a planned white nationalist rally on their campus, citing concern for student safety. University leaders announced Monday that there were “concerns about the safety of its students, faculty, staff and the public,” which led them to cancel the September 11th event.
The rally was organized by white nationalist Preston Wiginton, who also made national news by inviting infamous alt-right personality Richard Spencer to speak at the university’s campus, sparking notable counter-protests.
Wiginton is of course whining about his First Amendment right to free speech, to which the university strongly responded:
“Texas A&M’s support of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech cannot be questioned… 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.”
Wiginton first heard the news of the canceling while shopping at Walmart on Monday afternoon, as per the Texas Tribune. While he’s promised to sue the university, he shouldn’t waste his money. A public institution like Texas A&M cannot cancel a rally with a valid permit due to political views, but there is a strong precedent that they may do so if there is significant concern about public safety.
After the events in Charlottesville, those fears are well-founded. This was the conclusion reached in a meeting with university President Michael Young, A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, other university leaders and law enforcement officials. Amy Smith, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer at the university said:
“When we discussed with law enforcement and others who were at the meeting today, there was no guarantee that we could guarantee safety… “If we could not get that guarantee from our law enforcement, we were not going to put a single student at risk.”
Aggies everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief. I am one of them.
And by the way, Preston Wiginton only attended A&M very briefly, and didn’t even graduate. The Aggie alumni across the globe are face-palming in embarrassment.
Watch the news of the cancellation here:
Feature image via Youtube