"Texas A&M's support of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech can not be questioned", the statement said. Wiginton said the event on the A&M campus was planned "well before any knowledge of Charlottesville".
Texas-based First Amendment attorney Chip Babcock said A&M will need to be able to show "credible evidence" of potential violence at the cancelled event should the decision be challenged in court.
Texas A&M noted that it had changed its policy after those protests so that no outside individual or group could reserve campus facilities without the sponsorship of a university-sanctioned organization. "That event will be called "BTHO Hate", the name of which borrows from an A&M football chant expressing the desire to "beat the hell outta" the opposing team".
In April, a federal judge in Alabama barred Auburn University from blocking white nationalist Richard Spencer from speaking, saying there was no evidence that he advocates violence.
"Word of the cancellation came hours after Dallas Democratic Rep. Helen Giddings gave a House floor speech while almost all of the chamber's 150 members stood beside her".
Over the weekend, one counterprotester died and 19 people were injured in a auto attack after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Cancelled: Texas A&M Shuts Down A White Lives Matter Rally Planned For September 11
Rep. Paul Workman, an Austin Republican, said a petition being circulated for A&M graduates in the House was attempting to "keep this from happening on our campus".
Similar sentiments came from the Texas Senate, which held its own moment of silence. "The First Amendment in America doesn't mean anything". They, along with university officials, criticized Spencer for showing up.
The university did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. Spencer spoke at an A&M event in December, when he was met by hundreds of protesters, many of whom gathered at Kyle Field football stadium to hear music and speeches highlighting diversity and unity to counter Spencer's appearance.
The argument that anticipated disruption is grounds for cancellation doesn't hold legal water, said Geoffrey Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago who has written extensively on free speech.
"I think A&M is smart enough to say "we'll take that risk", said Treece. Recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia may affect how political rallies and demonstrations are handled in states across the country and in particular, how states with OPEN CARRY OF FIREARMS and CAMPUS CARRY LAWS, may be presented with both legal and public safety dilemmas.
Shibley says it is possible that the university has more reason to be wary than just the comparison to Charlottesville.