by Haley Mitchell, managing editor

The protest scene in College Station, Texas was relatively nonexistent until an alumnus of Texas A&M invited Richard Spencer to speak at the local University. Spencer, who is a leader in the alt-right movement, is a notorious white supremacist. Locals and students of the fifth largest university in America did not respond to him coming positively.

“Many of our generation are unhappy with the outcome of this election cycle, and with everything still so fresh I’m sure a lot of people felt compelled to go in light of that,” senior Oceane Parker said. “Having a white supremacist come to speak probably felt like a punch in the throat, so to speak. For a lot of people the protest was a way to express that.”

The University’s response to Spencer coming was a unity concert featuring speakers like Kyle Hill, A&M’s starting quarterback and Max Glauben, a Holocaust survivor. Many students, such as senior Sean Gunn, attended both the concert and the unity event.

“For me I don’t see the ‘alt-right’ beliefs as something that needs to be supported and allowed. I understand first amendment freedom of speech, but its ideas are so in the past,” Gunn said. “I was very glad to see other students there believing in their ideals and going to support them, even though we’re told we’re too young to be involved in politics.”

The day of Spencer’s visit, main roads on A&M Campus were closed for the silent protest, vocal protest and Spencer’s supporters who came to hear him speak. Organizations like the Houston Socialist Movement were well represented among the hundreds of protesters, though most were students of the University or concerned local residents.

“It was a valuable experience,” Parker said. “Demonstrations attract the extremes of either end; it was overall exciting and, I find, a very important statement to make.”

See photos of the event below (Photos by Josh Weimer and Haley Mitchell):