COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Hours after a deadly clash between white nationalists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, a political activist announced plans to hold a White Lives Matter rally at Texas A&M University on September 11.
On Monday, officials at Texas A&M announced the event would be cancelled due to safety concerns.
Officials sent the following statement to media:
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... 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, the event organizer, said his rally was intended to "continue the flow and growth of the Alt Right message," following the Unite the Right event that spurred the declaration of a state emergency in Virginia.
Wiginton said the event paperwork had been filed and approved by the university for about two weeks, but saw Saturday as an "opportune moment" to announce the rally.
Texas A&M's media relations department said the university remains committed to preserving and supporting the first amendment.
"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," the release said. "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."
Texas A&M cancels 9/11 event reservation: https://t.co/nquKNDx8cO— Texas A&M University (@TAMU) August 14, 2017
Wiginton invited counter protesters to the rally "to discuss the issues of the day in racial and identity conflict."
Adam Key and Michael Buse organized a counter protest on Facebook titled #BTHOHate - a protest against white lives matter.
"This tone-deaf rally is positively contrary to our values as a campus and serves only to harass our fellow Aggies of colour," the description of the event said. "As such it is imperative that we take action and display pride in our diverse campus and community... We hope to bring even more people outside to unite around the idea that hate, bigotry, and racism have no place on our campus."
It's unclear if an event will be held in place of the cancelled White Lives Matter rally.
Calls to Wiginton for comment were not immediately returned Monday night.
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