Chancellor Folt denies request for white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus

Folt cited safety concerns for the declination

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt released a statement on Wednesday detailing her decision to decline a request from the National Policy Institute to rent space for Richard Spencer to speak on campus.

Spencer is a leader of the white nationalist movement, and a speech from him would have been merely weeks after the protests in Charlottesville, VA, largely peaceful protests around Confederate statue Silent Sam on campus and the toppling of the Confederate statue in Durham.

He is the head of the National Policy Institute who the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "a radical white separatist whose goal is the establishment of a white ethno-state in North America."

"Our basis for this decision is the safety and security of the campus community–we are not willing to risk anyone's safety in light of [the risks such an event could bring to Carolina]," she wrote.

Folt made the decision after consulting with campus police and local and state law enforcement. Safety concerns were found to be most pressing issue, as the violence surrounding extremist groups prevents campuses from having the opportunity to present an open dialogue and debate, Folt explained.

Folt instead encouraged the UNC community to attend Carolina Conversations, which begins Wednesday, Sept. 6 with "The First Amendment and Free Speech at UNC." Details can be found here.

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