White nationalist Richard Spencer wants to speak at University of Florida

Century Tower at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida. [Photo courtesy: UF]

A figurehead of the Alt-right and white nationalist movement wants to speak at the University of Florida next month.  University leaders said Richard Spencer requested space to speak on campus September 12. 

UF President Kent Fuchs released a statement Monday saying that Spencer’s group, the National Policy Institute is not affiliated with the university and that no university groups or organizations would sponsor the event. He also denounced the statements and symbols involved with the organization.  

However Fuchs also said the University has to observe freedom of speech on campus.

“Per university regulation 2.004, non-university groups, organizations and persons may rent space on campus, provided they cover rental expenses and security costs like all other third-party renters,” said Fuchs in a statement.

Gainesville Police said Monday that they are aware of the possible speech and are prepared to handle the protests that it would bring, as well as the counter-protests.

The University has not made a final decision on the speech yet, but many students and activists aren’t waiting.
Already a Facebook event has launched to protest Spencer outside of the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on September 12. Organizer Mitch Emerson is encouraging people to travel from all over the state to stand against Spencer’s message.

"We have to at least come together and stand together against hate,” said Emerson.

Spencer is widely considered as one of the heads of the Alt-right movement and has become known for his controversial speeches and stances of race relations.

A similar speech by Spencer being planned for the night before UF's was cancelled Monday by Texas A&M University amid safety concerns.