University of Florida denies white supremacist event
Richard Spencer sought space for September event
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida is denying a request by a group headed by white nationalist Richard Spencer to rent space on the campus for a September event.
UF President W. Kent Fuchs said in a statement Wednesday that the decision was made after assessing risks to the campus, community and law enforcement following last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Spencer, the head of the National Policy Institute, had contacted the university for plans to rent space on the campus in Gainesville next month.
In denying the request, Fuchs said he finds Spencer's racist rhetoric "repugnant and counter to everything the university and this nation stands for."
Fuchs said UF is dedicated to free speech and public discourse, but the First Amendment doesn't require risk of imminent violence to students.
A supporter of National Policy Institute vowed to file a lawsuit against UF.
Cameron Padgett was told of the university's decision and said he was going to call his lawyer immediately to begin the process of filing a court challenge.
Padgett is being paid nearly $30,000 by Auburn University after he successfully challenged the school's attempts to block the group from speaking there.
He said they had signed an agreement with Florida and believes the group will prevail just as they did with the Auburn challenge in April.
A judge allowed the Spencer event at Auburn to proceed. Several hundred people attended the event and three people were arrested outside the building during clashes between Spencer's supporters and his opponents.
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