White nationalist to speak at Texas A&M, officials hold counter-event

- Texas A&M University officials are on high alert as alt-right white nationalist leader Richard Spencer comes to speak at their campus on Tuesday.

The man who invited him is Preston Wiginton, who has been inviting controversial speakers to Texas A&M for years. Wiginton is not a student at Texas A&M. When he invited Richard and Spencer to speak, controversy erupted on campus and in the community.

"We just view that nations which-- a nation is a group of people that have a common heritage and culture and usually common genetics -- that homogenous nations are just more peaceful and prosperous, that multiculturalism doesn't work," said Preston Wiginton, a College Station local activist who invited Spencer to speak on campus.

But many of the students on campus reject that sentiment.

"Everyone just is really against it, and I mean I haven't heard of anyone who supports it or even thinks it's right that they should even be allowed to speak," said Hank Oliver, a senior majoring in Finance.

"For me it's a little more personal because you feel like you're not welcome here. They want us to go back to Mexico. I was born here though. I belong here and it's just scary," said Gabrielle Hernandez, a senior majoring in Electrical Engineering.

"Basically, [my reaction was] freedom of speech but being a country based on immigrants, I don't think it's right to take the stand that everyone should leave that's not your ethnicity," said James Jimenez, a Construction Science major.

Wiginton defends his group's mission to preserve so-called "white identity" and claims their group is not racist.

Texas A&M officials said no one affiliated with the university invited Spencer but that any member of the public is allowed to rent space for use on campus. The university is allowing Spencer to keep his scheduled appearance because of his constitutional right to freedom of speech.

But that doesn't mean the campus is staying silent. University officials and students are holding their own counter-event during Spencer's talk called "Aggies United" to celebrate diversity and inclusion. The event will include speeches by noted members of the university and entertainment.

"We look forward to bonding together to tell what we really stand for and to tell America that we don't want there to be any confusion -- we did not invite this person to this campus," said Amy Smith with the Texas A&M administration.

Aggies United is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday night. Spencer's talk is scheduled to start one hour after that at 7 p.m.

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