Alt-right leader Richard Spencer is coming to the University of Florida

You may recognize him from that ‘Nazi punched in face’ video

White nationalist and alt-right activist Richard Spencer is set to be speaking at the University of Florida campus.

The National Policy Institute has reached out to UF to reserve a venue for the event.

In an email sent throughout the student body, university president Kent Fuchs has condemned Spencer’s views as well as the riots in Charlottesville, VA.

The email is as follows:

Dear Campus Community,

The National Policy Institute has reached out to the university to reserve space for a speaking event featuring white nationalist and “alt-right” activist Richard Spencer on September 12.

This organization is unaffiliated with the university, and no student groups or other groups affiliated with the university are sponsoring this speech. This event is not finalized and it is still under discussion.

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.

UF administration, staff and campus police are developing a security plan for the potential event and are working with colleagues across the country who have had similar events on their campus.

For many in our community, including myself, this speaker’s presence would be deeply disturbing. What we’ve watched happen in Charlottesville, VA. in the last 24 hours, is deplorable. I again denounce all statements and symbols of hate. The University of Florida is a community of learners, educators and scholars. We encourage open and honest dialogue, and we strive to build an inclusive environment where hate is not welcome.

While this speaker’s views do not align with our values as an institution, we must follow the law, upholding the First Amendment not to discriminate based on content and provide access to a public space.

Though we have a responsibility as a public university, we also have a vital duty to our students, faculty and staff to uphold our educational mission.

Instead of allowing hateful speech to tear us down, I urge our campus community to join together, respect one another and promote positive speech, while allowing for differing opinions. These types of groups want media attention. I encourage our campus community to send a message of unity by not engaging with this group and giving them more media attention for their message of intolerance and hate.

It is up to every student, faculty member, staff member, and myself to demonstrate our university values of respect and inclusion in all that we do. We have an opportunity to lead the way.

We will continue to keep you updated as more information develops through email and our information line: 1-866-UF-Facts.

A date for the event has not yet been made public.

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