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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Students hold anti-hate protest before Mike Pence’s speech at A&M

Protestors+at+the+Young+Americans+for+Freedom+event+had+a+variety+of+signs+and+were+representing+a+variety+of+causes.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Protestors at the Young Americans for Freedom event had a variety of signs and were representing a variety of causes.

While students and visitors lined up in anticipation for former Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Texas A&M campus, others assembled to protest.
On Thursday, Nov. 11, a group of 30 to 40 students congregated in Rudder Plaza to demonstrate their opposition to Pence and the hate speech they experience on campus. The organizers of the event included the Council for Minority Student Affairs, Texas Aggie Democrats, Students for a Democratic Society and the Latinx Community and Advocacy Association. Their main goal was to express their view that A&M provides a platform for hate speech.
Economics senior Colby Jones, president of Texas Aggie Democrats, said Pence’s attendance on campus provided an opportunity to hold a wider discussion on hate speech.
“[We are] recognizing the fact that so many speakers get to come on campus with little oversight or regulation about what they are going to say to students and how those words matter and impact our campus,” Jones said. “In particular we chose to focus on hate speech recognizing that Mike Pence as an individual has a long track record for actions that are discriminatory.”
The issue of hate speech goes beyond Pence’s appearance on campus, Jones said.
“We’re not trying to stifel campus debate, but we need to talk about how the university has to have some type of guidelines and regulations about what you can do on campus and what limits apply to that within the constitution,” Jones said.
Frey Miller, visualization senior and president of Transcend, said their organization has experienced hate online.
“Last year, while our organization was holding meetings online, our Zoom meetings actually got bombed by transphobic hateful speakers,” Miller said. “They infiltrated our meetings and started taking pictures of our members and their names and those were shared into hateful Reddit forums and online forums specifically created to propagate transphobic hate.”
Miller said this culminated with the passage of the Support for Trans Aggies resolution in the Student Senate.
“It was calling attention to the transphobia on campus and making the Student Senate as a body aware of the transphobia students were facing,” Miller said.
Jacob Bowman, forensic science junior, was waiting in line to see Pence speak and said he was excited to see the former vice president.
“I heard about it last minute from a friend, and I thought it was a great opportunity to come and meet a very important person,” Bowman said.
Bowman also said he didn’t really have anything to say about the protest occurring nearby.
“I hope it’s a great time and everyone just gets along,” Bowman said.
Levi, an urban and regional planning sophomore who did not give his last name, said he wasn’t aware of the protest until he saw it.
“I think it’s weird to protest somebody you haven’t sat down with and had a conversation with,” Levi said. “But maybe this is talking about it, because it’s hard to talk to Mike Pence, he has a broad audience and you can’t just walk up to him to talk to him.”
In the end, Levi said people really aren’t that different from one another.
“At the end of the day, we’re all people and if we disagree on something … we’re adults we can talk about it,” Levi said.

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