Texas A&M university allowed a white supremacist to hold a meeting “a packed room of about 400 people at the Texas A&M University Memorial Student Center.” His views are racist, with misogyny and fat shaming thrown in for good measure. Now I understand that some campus grounds are public spaces and therefore universities cannot prevent people from speaking – but really this person gets to use the facilities, the room? The Chronicle of Higher Education reports
The university’s president, Michael K. Young, said last week that while he found Mr. Spencer’s views “abhorrent,” and that no one from the university had invited him, A&M had to allow him to speak because of the university’s commitment to free speech.
Mr. Spencer was invited to speak at A&M by Preston Wiginton, a white supremacist who briefly attended the university a decade ago.
How is this even possible? Would Texas A&M allow anybody to use their facilities just for this flimsy connection? So if I wanted to use the room to sell snake oil all I need to do is to get invited by anyone “who briefly attended the university a decade ago”?
The university president did organize a competing event “to show the university’s opposition to such divisive rhetoric” and he also said that the white supremacist message had “no place in civilized dialogue and conversation.” and that “It’s beneath contempt.”
But the question remains – how can an invitation like this stand? At what point doesn’t the university just stop the event that hasn’t been organized and officially sanctioned?