Texas A&M Blocked White Supremacists Over Safety Concerns. Will a Court Back the School?

Preston Wiginton, a former Aggie who believes all races have a right to preserve their "unique genetics," won't take no for an answer.The man behind a white supremacist rally scheduled for Sept. 11 has said he might still lead a gathering through Texas A&M University, even though the school has canceled his event due to concerns about violence.In a written statement this week, Wiginton said he and other demonstrators are considering walking down a public street that cuts through the university. He has said that he's reaching out to attorneys about pursuing a lawsuit and that another protester has complained to the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a movement dubbed White Lives Matter.Free-speech attorneys agree that Texas A&M is in an unenviable position. On one hand, as a public university it has a duty under the First Amendment to not impede freedom of speech -- even hate speech. On the other hand, administrators worry about students' safety after a racist march in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville erupted into violence that killed a woman and left many more injured.Texas A&M officials gave two reasons for canceling Wiginton's event: They are concerned about student safety because the rally organizer brought up Charlottesville in promoting his gathering, and they think the rally will disrupt classes and student movement on a school day.Legal experts disagree on whether the specter of violence might convince a court that the university was justified in censoring the white supremacists. Some say it would be easier for Texas A&M to prevail if its relies on its concerns regarding the disruption of education."It's going to be a fascinating development to watch if it does go to court," said Robert O'Neil, former president of the University of Virginia and an authority on the First Amendment. "I would not want to predict either way. I think it could go either way."  Continue reading...

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