White Nationalist Richard Spencer brought his message of exclusion and bigotry to Texas A&M University on Tuesday night and was met with a protest demonstration in the form of a university-sponsored counter-event titled “Aggies United.”
Spencer, who was not invited by Texas A&M officials but was allowed to speak due to free speech, espoused his belief that Whites conquered the North American continent and that “America belongs to White men.” The President of the National Policy Institute went so far as to say, “America can’t exist without us – we defined it. This country does belong to White people – culturally, politically, socially … we define what America is.”
On Wednesday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin and his panel of guests discussed Spencer’s appearance and the protest against him in the form of the “Aggies United” event, hosted by Hill Harper.
Tim Wise, anti-racism educator and author, said the response to the Alt-Right “has to be a combination of what we saw at Texas A&M.”
He continued it should include “people making it very clear that his words, his movement do not represent their campus and standing up against him and also the creation of alternative events that take the focus away from White supremacists like Richard Spencer and put it on coalition building and movements for justice.”
Wise added, “The combination of those two things was exactly right.”
Texas A&M President Michael K. Young spoke with Martin during a NewsOne Now / Tom Joyner Morning Show simulcast about yesterday’s events. Young told Martin “virtually everyone” on campus has denounced Spencer and reminded viewers that Texas A&M did not invite the Alt-Right leader to speak at the University.
Young said, “We did not invite him, we did not want him here. Nobody from the university, no student organization, nobody invited him here.”
When asked why Spencer was allowed to speak at TAMU, Young said, “We are a public university and we allow citizens to rent rooms and do it frequently; 300 or 400 times a year there is some sort of rental of our facilities and sometimes it’s a speech, sometimes it’s a wedding.”
President Young also explained the university stands for freedom of speech and therefore allowed Spencer to speak on the campus. He later added if there was a threat of violence, if the event had disrupted the functions of the university or put people in harm’s way, it would have been terminated.
Young shared his reaction to students as well as the community raising their voices in protest against Spencer’s appearance and said he was encouraged by the thousands of emails, letters and phone calls from people who “deplore” the rhetoric used by the White Nationalist.
Young said, “I was heartened by the way in which the Aggie world came together and said this is not who we are, not what we stand for [and] not what we believe.”
Watch Roland Martin and NewsOne Now‘s coverage of Richard Spencer’s appearance at Texas A&M University in the video clip above. Then watch Texas A&M President Michael K. Young discuss the college’s response to the Alt-Right leader in the video clip below.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty