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WATCH: Texas Southern University President Shuts Down Speech


Texas state representative Briscoe Cain was personally shut down by TSU President Austin Lane, who stormed into the room and cancelled the event. A video has recently emerged, capturing the scene unfold between Lane, Cain, and Black Lives Matter protesters.

Rep. Briscoe Cain was invited to the college by the TSU Federalist Society, in order to speak about his experiences in the Texas legislature. But then protesters effectively interrupted Cain’s speech, preventing the politician from speaking. The group chanted, “No hate anywhere. You don’t get a platform here,” and “When a racist comes to town, shut him down.”

The student protesters were removed from the event by university police to allow Cain to continue his speech. But then…President Lane, accompanied by Democratic state Sen. Boris Miles, entered the room and invited the protesters back in. Rep. Cain then left the room.

President Lane claims that the Federalist Society chapter didn’t follow proper procedures to host such an event, although he didn’t specify what policy was violated. Lane addressed the podium and spoke to the crowd. When he informed them that the speech was cancelled, he was met with cheers.

The university, however, has a right to regulate time, place, and manner. That’s something that universities have the right to always regulate, which is time, place, and manner, and that today has not been done. So that’s why this event will be cancelled until we have the appropriate [drowned out by applause]. So, again, we welcome free speech, but we need the ability to make sure we can handle whatever guest is coming here today. I appreciate — I didn’t know about it, and I just happened to be with another Senator here, Senator Boris Miles, we were out doing some other things early on. We were glad that we were able to meet, and I look forward to going out and talking with, is it Representative Cain? I look forward to talking with him as well to make sure that we all get on the same page. … We’ll go back to the drawing board to make sure that if in fact we have speakers that come in, and that’s fine, but we need to make sure that we regulate the time, place, and manner, and not the speech. Let me say that again because [something] a lot of people will pick that up. Universities can regulate time, place, and manner, and we have not done that today through our appropriate processes. … If there is another event that is scheduled to be here in the law school, in this particular room, then we need that to occur. … It’s my job to make sure that nothing, absolutely nothing, disrupts the academic environment.

Here’s a video of President Lane speaking to the crowd in attendance at the cancelled event.

Rep. Cain released a statement yesterday after the incident, claiming that the heckler’s veto won the day at Texas Southern University.

Today I attended an event scheduled by the TSU chapter of the Federalist Society a few months ago. I was greeted by campus officials, given a guest parking voucher, and brought into a room in which the administration had specifically requested the talk occur. Then Black Lives Matter came in and bullied the administration into ending the event. It’s a sad day for universities across Texas whenever speech and a variety of views are prevented from being presented due to bullies.

The law school from Texas South University is ironically named after Thurgood Marshall, a United States Supreme Court justice who is known for his outstanding record when it comes to protecting first amendment rights.

TSU has released a statement:

Texas Southern University welcomes free speech and all viewpoints on campus as part of our collegiate experience. Today’s event, which was scheduled at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, ended early because it was not a registered university student organization event.

Our campus is open and welcoming to all state and elected officials. TSU President Dr. Austin Lane was meeting with a state senator when he received word of the event at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Dr. Lane went to the event to see State Rep. Briscoe Cain, students and faculty, and then learned that it was an unauthorized Texas Southern University student organization event. Our vice president of Student Affairs has since met with the student organizer and informed him of university procedures.  Several events have been cancelled in the past on campus because procedures were not followed.  We welcome the return of any guest speaker for deliberative dialogue on our campus in accordance with university procedures.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has reached out to the TSU Federalist Society to gather more information and see if they can assist the students involved.

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