'Aggies United' event to counter alt-right speaker on campus - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

'Aggies United' event to counter alt-right speaker on campus

(Source: Texas A&M University) (Source: Texas A&M University)
Richard Spencer. (Source: National Policy Institute) Richard Spencer. (Source: National Policy Institute)
Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young (Source: Texas A&M University) Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young (Source: Texas A&M University)
COLLEGE STATION, TX (KLTV) -

Texas A&M is countering an event featuring a speaker who has ignited a controversy on campus. The University's President, Michael K. Young, announced Tuesday that the school will hold an event titled 'Aggies United' to take place at the same time as a speech by a man described as the leader of the alt-right movement.

Richard Spencer, leader of the National Policy Institute, is slated to speak at the school's iconic Memorial Student Center on December 6. The Southern Poverty Law Center described Spencer as a 'White Nationalist.' A Washington, D.C. speech Spencer gave in November drew Nazi-style salutes from people in attendance.

Since word spread of Spencer's appearance at Texas A&M, controversy ignited on the campus and on social media. Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young issued a statement Tuesday saying he finds the speaker's views "abhorrent and profoundly antithetical to everything I believe." But Young said private citizens, like Spencer, have the right to free speech on and off of campus.

So let me be clear, barring a breach of contract and/or unresolvable safety concerns, we have no plans to prohibit the speaker from using the room he has rented. Freedom of speech is a First Amendment right and a core value of this university, no matter how odious the views may be.

Young said he will not be at Spencer's speech, instead at the school's "Aggies United" event which will be held at the same time as Spencer's event. It will take place at Kyle Field on December 6 from 6:00-9:00p.m. The event will be open to students, faculty, staff and members of the Bryan/College Station community.

The school's leader described the event as an opportunity for those who want to "add their name to a large wall expressing their commitment to unity to do so."

Texas A&M issued a statement on Nov. 23, saying they did not invite the speaker on 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," Amy Smith, Texas A&M senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer, said in a statement. "In fact, our leadership finds his views as expressed to date in direct conflict with our core values."

They said private citizens and groups are allowed to reserve space since the school is a public institution. 

Copyright 2016 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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