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White Nationalist Threatens Lawsuit After Texas A&M Cancels Rally

The university cited concerns for public safety, after organizer Patrick Wiginton linked the event, planned for September 11, to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one dead and dozens injured.


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Texas A& M University
Texas A& M University

Texas A&M University may face a lawsuit over its decision to cancel a rally planned for September 11, featuring white supremacist leader Richard Spencer. The university canceled the event two days after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which also featured Spencer, left one dead and dozens injured.

At issue is whether the university violated the planners' First Amendment rights. Patrick Wiginton, organizer of the rally, told News 88.7 that one of his colleagues in "White Lives Matter" has filed a complaint with the ACLU in Houston.

"When Black Lives Matter was at Texas A&M last November, Texas A&M rolled out the red carpet for them," Wiginton said. "But when White Lives Matter wants to come to A&M, the student body wants to form a human wall to prevent us from stepping foot on campus, the administration condemns us, and the Texas State Legislature puts pressure on the administration to cancel the event."

Charles "Rocky" Rhodes teaches constitutional law at South Texas College of Law Houston. Rhodes told Houston Matters that courts recognize limits on freedom of speech, such as when speech is intended to incite violence.

Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer
Twitter account @DCExaminer
Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer

"Texas A&M is assisted here by some of the organizer's own statements," said Rhodes. "He went to social media to promote his event right after what happened in Charlottesville, and said, ‘Today Charlottesville. Tomorrow Texas A&M.'"

In canceling the September rally, A&M officials disputed that they were seeking to deny anyone's freedom of speech. They noted the university had allowed Wiginton to organize a similar rally featuring Spencer on campus last December. However, they said, "Linking the tragedy of Charlottesville with the Texas A&M event creates a major security risk on our campus."