When I heard the news that Richard Spencer was going to be speaking on the Texas A&M campus I got upset.
I thought how could the school I love so much allow Spencer, a white nationalist and inventor of the term “alt-right”, come and speak at our campus? My stomach dropped and I felt betrayed and disappointed.
Fairly recently, a spotlight has been on A&M’s race relations and I thought surely this will do nothing but harm it further. I still kind of do, unless our student body speaks out against it.
So far, many newspapers and news channels, like The Houston Chronicle, ABC News, the Texas Tribune and local news stations have already written about Richard Spencer’s upcoming speech.
So far, the university has released a statement that they had nothing to do with inviting him here and the Student Government has also denounced Spencer’s upcoming speech at TAMU.
The University’s official statement is this “‘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. This rental is classified as a “Class 5: non-Texas A&M University-related” use of public space in the school’s events guidelines typically reserved for community events, wedding receptions and local high school events.'”
Unfortunately, a private citizen was the one to rent the space. His name is Preston Wiginton, who is a former student and also a white nationalist.
The TAMU Student Government released this on their Facebook page in response to the news that Richard Spencer is coming to campus:
Finally, I wanted to share a post that I made on Facebook a couple of days ago when I found out Spencer would be speaking at A&M. In it, I talk about what we as Aggies need to do if this man still comes to our campus.
“To fellow Aggies who have just heard the news that Richard Spencer will be coming to our campus in December:
As was just pointed out to me by my aunt Maureen Meine, a Rice grad, “A university is supposed to expose mature, intelligent people to different points of view. We had the Grand Knight of the KKK. Rice is a very liberal school. We roasted him during Q&A, but we listened quietly to his crap first. It was an overflow crowd in the chemistry amphitheater. I sat on the floor.” She also said “BTW, I was very proud of Rice for trusting us to handle it. Not for one moment did I think he would leave the campus feeling like he had any support from us. You should fill the room with people who think like you do. Listen to him speak and come prepared with articulate speakers of your own to respond. No need for applause or Nazi salutes. Just adults repudiating hate.”
I think now that this man is going to be coming to our campus (which I still oppose..) we need to be tactful about the way in which we handle him. Sure let him talk, but we need to fire right back with intelligent arguments. Yeah I think there should be protests. But more importantly, we need to act with intelligence, and we need to show him that TAMU students do not support him and will not stand for his BS in a manner that he will respond to. He’ll likely brush off traditional, holding signs, etc. protests as “liberals being cry babies” but if we take the time of day to hold a conversation with him, I think he’ll be forced to see that there are actually some very smart people at Texas A&M University who oppose his views.”
I want there to be protests, but what I really want are intelligent Aggies articulating their opposition to his views. I don’t want Spencer to disregard us for not being smart about what we have to say.
I want all of my Aggie friends and family to stand up against him, Republicans and Democrats alike. My conservative friends are nothing like him and don’t identify with the alt-right whatsoever. I want them to stand with my liberal friends too. Time to stand up against hate, Aggies.
Featured image courtesy of NBC.