Texas A&M University officials have canceled a planned “White Lives Matter” rally at the school scheduled for next month, in light of Saturday’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. at a white supremacists rally.
The rally was scheduled for Sept. 11 on a plaza at the center of campus, KBTX-TV reported.
University officials said the event organizer — Preston Wiginton — did not have the permission of the university to hold the rally on campus and announced the gathering to the media under the headline “Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M,” according to a 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,” the statement said. “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.”
In December 2016 Texas A&M allowed Wiginton to share his views on campus, but said that in light of the rally in Charlottesville over the weekend, in which a self-proclaimed white supremacist drove his car through a crowd of counter-protestors and killing one, the school decided to cancel the gathering.
“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,” the university said. “Finally, the thoughts and prayers of Aggies here on campus and around the world are with those individuals affected by the tragedy in Charlottesville.”
The event was meant to be similar to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, with white supremacist Richard Spencer scheduled to speak.
Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), a graduate of Texas A&M, reacted to the news of the event, telling the local TV station that “racism, bigotry and violence have no place in America.”
“We as a nation must stand united as a nation of laws. I am confident that our community can once again peacefully come together to counter hatred and division by exemplifying unity and the core values we cherish,” he said.