UT president denounces hate groups after torchlit gathering on campus


The University of Texas police are investigating the circumstances around a group of demonstrators wearing face masks and bearing torches who gathered on the steps of the University of Texas’ South Mall overnight Saturday.

Shortly after midnight, the group was assembling when UT officers who were patrolling the area saw them. Police told the group members to extinguish the torches, take off the masks and leave campus.

A photo circulating on social media shows more than a dozen people gathered, wearing dark clothing and holding American flags.

RELATED: Anti-Muslim posters found on 3 UT buildings

UT police describe the group as predominately white men, but UT officials said they knew of no students in the group.

“They had just lit those torches,” said Cindy Posey, spokeswoman for UT police. “They were gathering, they were told to leave and left. We got them off our campus quickly.”

Posey said one person at the gathering identified the group by name, and it as one that UT consider a hate groups. She would not disclose the name.

“The actions of white supremacists and other hate groups are completely anathema to UT’s values, and I abhor what they represent,” President Gregory L. Fenves said in a statement. “These are difficult times for our nation, with movements fueled by hatred increasingly taking root, as we saw in Charlottesville and elsewhere. We must continue to denounce these ugly, un-American ideas in the strongest terms.”

While UT encourages free speech and an exchange of ideas, Fenves said, the “campus is not open for non-university-affiliated groups to stage protests or gatherings.”

Fenves said the demonstraters violated multiple policies, including the university’s ban on masks and open flames.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Opinion: Playboy comes to D.C.

Playboy Enterprises just announced that it has purchased a table at this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner. Swell. Just what we need. The dinner, as you’ve probably heard, is an annual ritual of narcissism in which leading press figures don black tie and hope to see, or better yet, be seen with, Hollywood stars. Like...
California murder suspect arrested after SWAT standoff in Pflugerville
California murder suspect arrested after SWAT standoff in Pflugerville

A California man suspected of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend earlier this week was arrested in Pflugerville on Saturday after an hourslong standoff with SWAT officers. Kevin Darnell Dickson, 55, was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force and Austin police at about 1 p.m. Saturday. He had been barricaded inside a home...
Austin area dodges severe storms, drought conditions remain

Austin on Saturday dodged severe storms that had been forecast for the region, with only light drizzle falling in parts of the metro area in the morning, which did little to alleviate dry conditions in the region. The National Weather Service on Saturday morning had warned of a potential for severe storms with possible hail and damaging winds in a...
2 pedestrians struck, killed on I-35 in separate incidents

AUSTIN 2 struck, killed on I-35 in separate incidents A man and a woman walking on Interstate 35 were struck by vehicles and killed in two separate incidents Saturday, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said. Medics first responded at 3:42 a.m. to a South Austin vehicle-pedestrian crash in the 8100 block of south I-35 along the frontage road north...
At funeral, Barbara Bush called ‘first lady of the greatest generation’
At funeral, Barbara Bush called ‘first lady of the greatest generation’

Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the greatest generation” during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and roughly 1,500 other people who filled the church with laughter as much as with tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother...
More Stories