Protests Greet White Supremacist at Texas A&M

December 7, 2016

Richard B. Spencer, leader of a white supremacist group called the National Policy Institute, spoke at Texas A&M University Tuesday -- while the university organized a large counterevent and protesters appeared outside the venue where Spencer spoke and (holding signs) inside the room as well. Many had called on Texas A&M, which permitted the event but did not invite Spencer, to block his appearance. But the university said that, as a public institution, A&M was required by the First Amendment not to discriminate against potential events based on the views of those seeking to speak. Parts of the student center were cleared and two nonstudents were arrested, but the speech and the protests both took place.

In his address, Spencer appears not to have broken any new ground and to have stated that white men should have (exclusive) power in the United States. The Texas Tribune quoted him as saying, “We conquered this continent. Whether it is nice to say that at all, we won and we got to define what America means. And we got to define what this continent means. America, at the end of the day, belongs to the white man.”

Video of the event shows protesters holding signs criticizing Spencer. From time to time, pro- and anti-Spencer attendees squared off in the way they stood during the event.

Texas A&M organized an event to run at the same time as Spencer's appearance. The event featured a mix of speeches denouncing Spencer and hate movements generally, along with musical performances. The university also set up a wall on which people could express their unity in the face of Spencer's visit.

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