RADFORD, Va – A student-led rally at Radford university set for Saturday will continue despite concerns from city residents.
The Bigger Picture Rally is set to begin on Muse Quad Saturday afternoon, but Radford Mayor and University Faculty Member David Horton said there has been a concerning amount of misinformation about the event.
“I think it’s really important for people to understand what it is and what it is not,” said Horton.
Although the city has an ordinance prohibiting large gatherings in place, it does not apply to university events since it is a public school. Horton says it also protects the right to assemble.
“We knew that we can’t violate people’s first amendment rights in that respect, having said that the big caveat to all of this is it doesn’t change the risk factors that are out there,” said Horton.
Lots of online speculation about the event has been circulating by people including Virginia Senator Amanda Chase who took to Facebook criticizing the event and university President Brian Hemphill.
Radford spokesperson Caitlyn Scaggs said the students have taken all the right steps to host the event.
“These students who have planned this event have done so in collaboration with university leadership to ensure that it is consistent with public health guidelines to include face covers physical distancing and in addition, we have been in consultation with the Virginia Department of Health regarding this event,” said Scaggs.
Only students, faculty and anyone with a valid Radford ID card will be able to attend the event on Saturday.
City and university leaders said it’s all about letting students express free speech.
“This is definitely a program with a purpose where people are getting together to ask questions and seek answers and try and find some commonalities for moving forward,” said Horton.
The event is set to begin at 4 p.m.