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Heckler’s Veto: Texas A&M Cancels September 11 Richard Spencer Speech

By  Robert Kraychik

Texas A&M University cancelled a forthcoming rally scheduled for September 11 which planned to include white nationalist and “alt-right” figure Richard Spencer, citing security concerns.

Dallas News reported that Spencer’s speaking event was previously approved last December by Texas A&M University and law enforcement.

Below is a portion of a statement released by Texas A&M:

Texas A&M’s support of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech cannot be questioned. 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.

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.

With no university facilities afforded him, [Richard Spencer] 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.”

Spencer was invited to speak by a “White Lives Matter” group at Texas A&M University. The university subsequently changed its speaking rules, requiring outside speakers to secure invitations from university-sanctioned student groups.

Last November, Texas A&M issued the following statement regarding Spencer’s expected speaking event:

There has been deep concern expressed by our Aggie community about an individual planning to speak at our campus. To be clear, Texas A&M University — including faculty, staff, students and/or student groups — did not invite this speaker to our campus nor do we endorse his rhetoric in any way. In fact, our leadership finds his views as expressed to date in direct conflict with our core values. Private citizens are permitted to reserve space available to the public as we are a public university as is the case here. Public groups must cover all rental expenses so that state resources are not burdened.

Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro described the cancellation as a surrender to the heckler’s veto, empowering college and university administrators to cite nebulous safety concerns to prevent dissent.

H/T Eva-Marie Ayala at Dallas News.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

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