University of Florida denies request for white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak

17 August, 2017, 07:36 | Author: Andrea Terry
  • Prominent White Supremacist Richard Spencer Schedules Potential Event At The University Of Florida

White nationalist Richard Spencer, center, and Nathan Damigo, right, of Identity Evropa speak to media on August 14, 2017, in Alexandria, Va. Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute and self-described creator of the term "alt-right", announced his intention to speak at rallies at Texas A&M University and the University of Florida in September.

Kent Fuchs said in a statement that the decision was made after assessing risks to the campus, community and law enforcement following last weekend's deadly violence during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Spencer has requested space at the Gainesville campus for September 12 and school President W. Kent Fuchs notes that his speech is not guaranteed as discussions continue to sort out costs.

That said, the University of Florida remains unwaveringly dedicated to free speech and the spirit of public discourse.

White supremacist Richard Spencer's next two events on college campuses have both been cancelled in the wake of the violence at his previous event at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He is co-editor of and leader of the National Policy Institute. He said he created the group because he knew if there was going to be a way to get people together against Spencer speaking at UF, they had to assemble sooner rather than later. The student newspaper at Texas A&M University reported on Sunday that Spencer is also scheduled to speak at a rally on campus, just one day before his rally at UF.

He also said on Monday that although he condemns violence, he thinks "there's a very good chance" suspect Alex Fields, not guilty of murder.

"I signed an agreement and sent it in to the event coordinator", Padgett told The AP.

"The difference between UF's decision and Auburn's is ours came only days following the events in Charlottesville, where a melee resulted in the death of one individual and many injuries", Sikes said.

Videos posted online show alt-right protesters beating counter-protesters with poles, fist-fights breaking out between groups and even a protester pulling a gun on counter-protesters, with little police interference.

Despite the seriousness of Charlottesville, barring Spencer's views from being expressed on campus in the future "is a very hard position to sustain", he said.

But Florida is citing safety issues, not Spencer's message, to justify turning down the request to reserve space on campus.

"I denounce white supremacy, I denounce Black Lives Matter, Antifa, I denounce the KKK and all those groups that try to divide us", Colbeck said.

Mr Spencer is President of the National Policy Institute, a think tank that focuses on what it calls the "dispossession of White Americans".

While some argue the University of Florida is depriving these groups of their right to free speech, FGCU Junior Shaun Tomlinson believes white supremacists are out to provoke people to violence.



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