A white supremacist rally—organized in the wake of racist violence over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia—scheduled to be held at Texas A&M University on Sept. 11 has been canceled due to safety concerns, the university announced Monday evening. The event was being billed as a “White Lives Matter Rally” by its white nationalist–aligned organizer, Preston Wiginton. The event was being directly linked to the violence in Charlottesville and billed as a sequel of sorts in a press release distributed by Wiginton that read: “TODAY CHARLOTTESVILLE TOMORROW TEXAS A&M.”
The planned white supremacist march on campus in College Station, which far-right, neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer was set to attend, sparked outrage online and set up another potentially violent confrontation on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Spencer spoke at a student center at the university to some 400 attendees in December of last year. The speech drew protests on campus and continual interruptions of Spencer’s remarks, and threatened to boil over into violence. In canceling Spencer’s appearance next month, the university noted it had changed its policy regarding guest speakers in response to the white supremacist’s previous appearance, and now mandates that speakers be sponsored by a student organization to use campus facilities. “None of the 1200-plus campus organization invited Preston Wiginton nor did they agree to sponsor his events in December 2016 or on September 11 of this year,” Texas A&M said in a statement Monday. “Linking the tragedy of Charlottesville with the Texas A&M event creates a major security risk on our campus.”
“The planned site for Wiginton’s rally [was] a fountain named after famous Aggie Gen. James Earl Rudder, who led a group of Army Rangers up 100-foot cliffs to topple Nazi gun barracks during the D-Day invasion,” according to the Texas Tribune. Wiginton told the Houston Chronicle he was planning on taking legal action in response to the cancellation.