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The Battalion

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

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Students react to white lives matter rally cancellation

In+response+to+the+Dec.+6+campus+visit+of+white+supremacist+Richard+Spencer%2C+BTHO+Hate+hosted+a+protest+event+outside+the+Memorial+Student+Center.
Photo by Photo by Brian Okosun

In response to the Dec. 6 campus visit of white supremacist Richard Spencer, BTHO Hate hosted a protest event outside the Memorial Student Center.

On the same day that Preston Wiginton a white lives matter rally at Texas A&M on Sept. 11 various student groups planned a counter protest, which included the maroon wall.
After the event was cancelled, BTHO Hate, a planned counter-protest, will now be a rally that, according to organizer Adam Key, communicates hate is not welcome at A&M.
“We want to keep the momentum going to speak out against hate on campus, but do so in our own rally,” Key said. “We plan on bringing in speakers from underrepresented groups to talk about their experiences and overall just encourage diversity and inclusion, but also bring people to be more aware of the hate that people experience in their everyday lives.”
Before Monday’s cancellation of the white lives matter rally, Key had planned BTHO Hate to serve as a counter-protest, similar to the original event in December of last year.
“We had close to 1,500 people, by some estimates, come out,” Key said. “It was Saturday, and I was just watching the horrific events happening in Charlottesville, Virginia and that’s when I got the text that they were coming back.”
Key said he immediately took action. Soon he was preparing the next BTHO Hate event with the previous organizers.
“Within about half an hour I was on the phone talking to the people who helped organize the [last BTHO Hate event] in December about getting this going again,” Key said.
Political science senior and Feminism 4 Aggies President Veronique Placke said that the cancellation of the white lives matter rally was the right decision based on reflections of the events that occurred in Charlottesville.
“I think it’s great that the school canceled the event,” Placke said. “I think that’s definitely what they should have done, not because people’s freedom of speech should be censored or anything like that, but because the acts in Charlottesville were very violent – why wouldn’t that necessarily happen this go around?”
Interdisciplinary studies senior and Feminism 4 Aggies social officer Hayley Peters shared the same viewpoint as Placke.
“I think A&M did the right thing,” Peters said. “I think that a lot of people are claiming that it’s censorship of speech, but if they hadn’t been violent in Virginia I think they’d have been allowed to come to our campus, and so I think they got their own foot in their mouth. I think free speech is allowed, but there will be consequences to your free speech.”
Placke said that remaining silent is not the way to handle any acts of white supremacy, and is in support of the BTHO Hate rally.
“Being silent is not the answer,” Placke said. “That only lets their message reach who it needs to reach in order for them to grow in numbers.” Placke also said that “maybe every day should be ‘BTHO Hate’ day because that’s what we should be doing.”
Prospective graduate student Madeline Kasper said on Monday that she read the news on Facebook about a second event at A&M involving white supremacist groups, and choose to cut A&M from her list of potential schools to attend.
Kasper said, before knowing the rally was canceled, that although A&M was never at the top of her list, this rally and last year’s events with Spencer caused her to opt against enrolling at A&M.
“I just think the main thing is that I don’t want to go to an institution that this has happened twice at,” Kasper said. “I don’t want to go to a school that has anything to do with white supremacy.”
Kasper said even though it has been shown that a large portion of Texas A&M is against the ideals of white supremacy, she stands strong with her decision.
“I mean, it’s hard because I know the school itself is probably against it, but the fact that there will probably also be Texas A&M students going to this and supporting what these people say is also a scary thought,” Kasper said. “And I know you have your freedom of speech, and your freedom of thought, and your freedom of opinion, but I don’t want to go to a place where hatred exists.”
In a press release, Key announced that after the cancellation of white lives matter rally, Winginton was planning a march through a public street that goes through campus. The BTHO Hate organizers are asking for supporters to pledge a dollar amount for every foot the white supremacists march through campus.

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