LIVE: How UF is rejecting Richard Spencer
T-minus 30 minutes to Richard Spencer’s speech and so far love is prevailing on campus
BEFORE THE ENGAGEMENT: The support from students, staff, and law enforcement stretch across the entire campus today.
All over UF, "You are loved" posters are taped to poles, walls, and doors.
President Fuchs has addressed the situation, condemning Spencer yet again. A video of his statement can be found here.
An entire Snapchat topic called #TogetherUF started with live updates from every angle of the event.
The police are not holding back, practically outnumbering the students on campus today.
2:05PM: CNN Reported that $600k was spent to secure the speech.
2:20PM: A plane flies overhead with the message "LOVE CONQUERS HATE LOVE WILL PREVAIL."
2:22PM: Students have begun sitting down for the event. There are seven minutes left until it starts. Tickets were distributed without incident.
2:37PM: Richard Spencer's speech has begun. Protesters have remained peaceful. The Tab is on the scene to provide live updates.
2:39PM: As Spencer begins to speak, his words are drowned out by chants from the audience. They yell, "Fuck you, Spencer" and "Go home, Spencer." As the crowd continues to boo him, Spencer tells the audience that it is the audience's best interest to sit down, so he can speak and start conversation. He was then drowned out by another chant, "Say it loud, say it clear, Nazis are not welcome here."
2:53PM: "Why are you here?" Spencer exclaims that it is because the audience knows what he is saying is true. He says that what he will say will change the world. He then accuses the audience of being scared of hearing something that conflicts with their views. The crowd chants "Go home, Spencer" and he retorts that he will stand there all day.
2:55PM: Spencer is telling the crowd that they are not speaking, and that they are screaming. He says they are not being adults, comparing them to "immature pre-schoolers." The audience now chants, "move back you suck."
2:57PM: The event has been put on pause. The crowd still yells "Go home Nazis, go home." He then calls out the white audience members. He calls out white allies for "self-hatred," then saying that the POC in the audience should be banned from the university. He says that white allies have been brain-washed.
3:00PM: The crowd yells, "WE WON'T BACK DOWN."
3:01PM: "You are WORSE than what they say about the left." The crowd then starts the "Orange/Blue" chant done at football games.
3:03PM: "Let's go Gators, let's go!" The crowd chants. Spencer retorts, "Sports ball! What an impressive use of your time"
3:05PM: The crowd begins a Black Lives Matter chant. Spencer says that his free speech is being stifled.
3:07PM: Spencer calls the audience cowards.
3:09PM: "If you actually want to have a real conversation about race, it starts right here. Let's do it. This is your best opportunity."
3:11PM: "Why do you think you are welcome here?" An audience member asks. Spencer says they have a tremendous amount of support. He says he has been to schools much like UF.
3:13PM: "I feel sorry for you. Do you know how this is going to be read? It is going to show that the University of Florida is filled with childlike antifa."
3:14PM: The crowd quiets to let an audience member ask a question. She points out that his followers are the ones inciting acts of violence against minorities. She places the responsibility on him and refers to Charlottesville. He responds that all lives matter and that he explicitly promotes peace. The audience begins to boo as Spencer speaks.
3:20PM: Dialogue between Spencer and an audience member: "What are you still doing here?" "I am speaking. I am trying to engage in dialogue. But you and your friends–" "These aren't my friends. This is my community."
3:23PM: Spencer attempts to explain a "white-ethnostate." The crowd continues to boo him. He tries to compare it to Israel.
— Irfan Kovankaya (@IrfanKovankaya) October 19, 2017
3:27PM: An audience members asks about how he proposes "peaceful ethnic cleansing" and how to differentiate ethnicities– "am I white enough?" The audience sings "na na na na hey hey hey goodbye." Spencer says there's no such thing as "white enough." Spencer tries to answer, but is drowned out by "go home Spencer, go home."
3:31PM: "Given how ugly you guys are…" It is difficult to hear the rest of the question as people cheer.
3:36PM: As people continue to ask questions, people continue to boo. Spencer says that his "own people" are the obstacles they have.
3:38PM: From an audience member: "… your regime– I'm going to call it that because that's what it is, a Nazi regime… Your ideals evoke violence."
3:44PM: "There's a lot of inter-religious conflict in the right. My question to you is how do we solve this?" The audience boos as someone asks this question, and as Spencer answers it.
3:46PM: Another audience member questions Spencer's Christianity.
3:49PM: "These things you are saying are harmful to other people," an audience member says. Spencer retorts that the government cannot censor any newspaper, and that it is the protestors fault that he needs to be protected. The audience chants that they do not care.
3:50PM: From an audience member: "Fascism shouldn't be up for debate. We already did this in World War II."
3:51PM: Someone on stage says that free speech comes from white ideals.
3:55PM: Spencer asks an audience member if he supports Israel. The audience members declines an answer. When Spencer tells him to answer, the audience member says that he won't answer because he is not the one on the stage. Spencer says that he is not Adolf Hitler.
3:58PM: An audience member says that he came to learn from Richard Spencer. He says that he has only learned that protestors are extremely rude. Spencer then thanks him and says he would like to have a conversation. As this exchange happens, the crowd says, "we don't care."
4:00PM: Spencer calls everyone there "a disgrace to the speech, the university, the constitution, the American values…" He calls the audience members "pieces of shit, if I'm being honest."
4:01PM: Our writer, Eman Elshashawy asks the final question– "How did it feel to get punched in the face? How bad did it hurt? Did it fuck up your jaw?" The audience erupts in a cheer. Someone on the stage says that the violence against Spencer is what drives them to do events like these.
4:04PM: Spencer thanks those who "genuinely" wanted to come and hold dialogue. He says, "You think you shut me down, but you didn't. You failed at your own game. In terms of a larger game you're playing… the world is going to see this event and will have a different view of the University of Florida… The world will not be proud of you."
4:06PM: The audience cheers as he gets off stage.