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White nationalist Richard Spencer speaks at the University of Florida

Under the pressure of legal recourse, the University of Florida has officially announced that self-proclaimed white nationalist, Richard Spencer, will speak at the university on Oct. 19.

According to The Independent Florida Alligator, UF emailed students that Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute and founder of the alt-right online blog, will pay about $10,564 to make an appearance at 2:30 p.m. at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, on UF’s campus.

Spencer was originally scheduled to speak at the university on Sept. 12, when UF rejected his application, citing the potential for violence following the Charlottesville, Virginia riots.

In response to the decision, Spencer vowed to pursue legal action, claiming Freedom of Speech violations.

Despite the warning, UF stood by its decision, and according to The Independent Florida Alligator, UF’s interim vice president and general counsel, Amy Hass, made it clear to Spencer’s organization that it was not barred from making an appearance.

Under the pressure of legal recourse, the University of Florida has officially announced that self-proclaimed white nationalist, Richard Spencer, will speak at the university on  Oct. 19.

According to The Independent Florida Alligator, UF emailed students that Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, and founder of the alt-right online blog, the National Policy Institute, and founder of the alt-right online blog, will pay about $10,564 to make an appearance at 2:30 p.m. at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, on UF’s campus.

Spencer was originally scheduled to speak at the university on Sept. 12, when UF rejected his application, citing the potential for violence following the Charlottesville, Virginia riots.

In response to the decision, Spencer vowed to pursue legal action, claiming Freedom of Speech violations.

Despite the warning, UF stood by its decision, and according to The Independent Florida Alligator, UF’s interim vice president and general counsel, Amy Hass, made it clear to Spencer’s organization that it was not barred from making an appearance.

In fact, the university noted that if Spencer were to submit another application, he would be accommodated accordingly, the Treasure Coast Palm said.

According to The Independent Florida Alligator, UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said the delay allowed UF to create a solid security plan in preparation for the event.

UF is considered a public university, which grants outside groups and individuals the right to rent space on campus. The university cannot legally deny these organizations from speaking on campus unless it poses a serious security threat.

According to The Independent Florida Alligator, the university is expecting to spend about $500,000 in security costs.

Spencer faced a similar hurdle in mid-April, after Auburn University canceled an appearance citing similar security concerns.

“Auburn is going to rue the day that they made this total bulls— decision,” Spencer said to the Plainsman, Auburn University’s student newspaper. “I will not back down. I will be there. This is going to be so much bigger than they ever imagined.”

Spencer and his team successfully sued Auburn under the First Amendment’s freedom of speech protections.

But who is he?

Spencer is often associated with rebranding white nationalism, and is said to have coined the term “alt-right”.

“Our dream is a new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans,” Spencer said in an interview with Vice in 2013. “It would be a new society based on very different ideals than, say, the Declaration of Independence.”

According to an anecdotal account on The Atlantic by Graeme Wood, who knew Spencer personally, Spencer created the alternative-right website in his mother’s vacation home in Whitefish, Montana.

In his blog labeled the alt-right.com, some basic principles of the movement include the preservation of heritage, identity and future of people of European descent in the United States, as outlined in a video on the alt-right’s website.

While acting as sole editor and publisher of the site, he took over the NPI, a white nationalist think tank founded by William Regnery II in 2005, according to The Atlantic.

Where once the NPI was barely functioning due to lack of resources, Spencer turned it into a profitable household name by publishing two books and hosting several conferences.

He has since made several appearances at institutions, and lead the “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in one fatality and about 19 injuries after a supporter ran his car into a crowd of counter protestors, according to Treasure Coast Palm.

While Spencer has yet to make a physical appearance at FGCU, his alt-right ideologies manifested through racially charged flyers posted around campus in Dec. 2016.

The flyers displayed racially biased language, and contained a URL link to a website run by a group who identified as part of the “alt-right” movement.

UF will continue to brief and monitor safety risks, as the event slowly approaches.

While UF has not barred Spencer from hosting an event, the university has emphasized that they have no affiliation with spencer’s event.

“UF deplores Spencer’s and the National Policy Institute’s rhetoric and views, which run counter to those of this institution,” UF said in a statement. “We also acknowledge that many of our students, faculty and staff are disproportionately impacted by their racism.”

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1 Comment

  1. Just call him what he is: a nazi.

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