Like a lot of us fair-minded and rational people, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is glad the plug got pulled on a potential white supremacist rally scheduled for Sept. 11 on the school’s campus.
Not long after the white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the home of the University of Virginia, leaders of the racist movement wanted to schedule a rally at Texas A&M. School officials put the kibosh on those potential plans this week after a woman was killed by a white supremacist who drove his car into counter-protesters in Charlottesville.
“I’m really proud of that,” Sumlin said Saturday of the decision to prevent the rally. “I think it’s without a doubt — I was thankful and very very proud of Chancellor [John] Sharp and our president to put an end to it. That’s the only way I can put it without going in-depth about it. Leadership like that, that’s when leadership comes to the front and our leadership did that. And we’ve talked about that as a team too. And our appreciation as a team for our leadership to step in in this situation is big.”
A noted white supremacist who we won’t name here as to not give him any more attention — though we’ll note that he got punched in the face in January in Washington, D.C. — spoke on campus in December. After that event, Texas A&M changed its rules regarding events scheduled by people unaffiliated with campus.
According to the school, “no outside individual or group could reserve campus facilities without the sponsorship of a university-sanctioned group.” And A&M said there was no sponsor for the September event.
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.
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