Texas A&M cancels 'White Lives Matter' event due to safety concerns

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - Rep. John Raney announced to the Texas House of Representatives Monday afternoon that A&M University Chancellor John Sharp has canceled a "White Lives Matter" event that was scheduled to happen on campus.

The protest, which was scheduled for Sept. 11 and was organized by political activist and former A&M student Preston Wiginton, would have followed the White Nationalist protests that turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.

Texas A&M said online that, "after consultation with law enforcement and considerable study," the university is canceling the event. Here is the full statement from the school:

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.

Wiginton previously said the rally was in response to the university's decision not to fire A&M professor Dr. Tommy Curry following a string of alleged racial comments that surfaced in early May from a podcast in 2012.

In a statement from Wiginton, he said the purpose of this event was to "protest liberal agenda of white guilt and white genocide that is taught in most universities in America." 

When the Texas Tribune called Wiginton Monday, he said he hadn't heard the news. He responded, "I guess my lawyers will be suing the state of Texas."

The event was scheduled to be held at A&M's Rudder Fountain and was going to include speakers Sacco Vanda of "The Right Stuff" and Ken Reed of the "White Lives Matter" Houston branch. 

© 2017 KAGS-TV


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