Following white nationalist Richard Spencer’s address on campus last November, officials at Texas A&M are changing their campus’ speech policies so that, in the future, outside speakers will need the sponsorship of a student organization in order to reserve university space for an event.
“As one of the stewards for protecting and enhancing the brand, this is particularly troubling to me as the influx of these outside groups may connote to your viewers an environment of acceptance by our campus when none are actually our students or faculty,” Amy Smith, communications officer at Texas A&M, told CNN, explaining the new policy.
Spencer, who calls for the founding of a white “ethno-state,” headlined a heavily-picketed event on campus, after an invitation from a former student at the university, who himself had attracted notoriety for his white nationalist views and rented space for the occasion.
Administrators said it was impossible to cancel the event because as a public institution the university could not vet the speech of those who used its facilities. “Private citizens are permitted to reserve space available to the public,” Smith said at the time, adding that the event’s organizers would cover all its expenses.