Alt-right leader Richard Spencer in Cincinnati: When and where is he speaking?

White supremacist and leader of the so-called "alt-right" Richard Spencer will be coming to speak on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, but where and when exactly?

The location and specific date for Spencer to speak has not yet been decided, but Enquirer research shows what UC expects to see from a visit by a known white nationalist.

Who invited Spencer?

Spencer is being hosted by Georgia State student Cameron Padgett, 29, who has made similar requests for Spencer to speak at Auburn University, Michigan State University, the University of Florida, and The Ohio State University to name a few.

Kyle Bristow, a Michigan-based attorney who represents Padgett, threatened to file a federal lawsuit last week against the university if a decision was not made on whether to permit Spencer to speak.

When will Spencer speak?

Bristow and Padgett are looking for a date in November or December, but are also open to a date in the winter. 

According to UC spokesperson Greg Vehr, the university notified Bristow that it could not accommodate Spencer on the originally requested date of Oct. 26. 

"The University has been asked to provide alternative dates," said Vehr. "No new dates have been identified at this time."

Bristow stipulated UC must be in session when Spencer speaks, however, "so that students who are interested in what he has to say can attend the event if they so chose."

UC's fall semester ends Dec. 9, and classes begin in the spring on Jan. 8.

Where will Spencer speak?

Bristow told the Enquirer Padgett would like to use the Tangeman University Center, whose Great Hall can hold 800.  If that's not available,  they are seeking a space that accommodates 500 to 800 people. 

What does Spencer say?

In April, Padgett sued Auburn University and won on grounds of free speech, after the university initially denied a request to host Spencer.

In his speech at Auburn, Spencer talked at length about "communist scum," how the "alt-right" celebrates European heritage and how whites have to fight for their identity against bureaucrats, corporations, and the government.

That was before the deadly events in Charlottesville in August.    

What happened in Charlottesville?

Spencer was one of the white supremacists who helped organize the deadly "Unite the Right" rally held in Charlottesville, VA, in August. White nationalists had marched through U.Va.'s campus Aug. 11, with tiki torches in hand, where they were met by counter-protesters.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed the next day when James Alex Fields Jr. , who grew up in Northern Kentucky, allegedly slammed a car into a crowd protesting the rally.

What have other universities done?

Since Charlottesville the University of Florida, The Ohio State University, Michigan State University, and Penn State University have all denied requests from Padgett for Spencer to speak, citing public safety concerns.

The Ohio State University released a statement Friday saying Padgett's request cannot be accommodated without substantial risk to public safety, and that the university is currently considering other alternatives.

Bristow on Twitter Saturday said he has not ruled out filing a lawsuit against OSU.

Michigan State University is currently being sued by Padgett and Bristow, who accuse the university of suppressing Spencer's right to free speech.

But the University of Florida in Gainesville is now opening its doors to Spencer this Thursday, after Spencer threatened to sue.  

How much will it cost and who will pay

The Miami Herald reported earlier this month the University of Florida in Gainesville expects to spend $500,000 on security and law enforcement for the event held on Thursday.

Spencer's think tank, the National Policy Institute, spent an estimated $10,000 on rent, equipment and security.

The university shoulders the rest of the cost because billing Spencer would infringe on Spencer's first amendment rights to speak at a public institution.

Bristow said he expects Spencer's speaking event to attract an estimated 10,000 people to the University of Florida's campus. The number includes supporters expected to attend the talk along with supporters and protesters that will be outside of the auditorium on UF's campus.

The governor of Florida, Rick Scott (R), declared a state of emergency Monday for Alachua County in anticipation of the event.

"The cost of security is legally irrelevant," said Bristow. "A price-tag cannot be affixed to the exercise of a constitutional right by an American citizen."

What has UC said?

In a letter addressed to students, faculty, and interested members of the UC community, President Neville Pinto cited the importance of upholding the First Amendment as a public institution, but condemned Spencer's "dehumanizing views and racist practices."

"In preparing for Spencer’s visit, know that your safety and security will be our top priority," said Pinto. "We will work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to implement a comprehensive plan for safety and security."

A coalition of groups opposing Spencer's visit and platform has already begun to emerge.

Why UC?

"The University of Cincinnati has been selected by Cameron Padgett as a venue at which Richard Spencer will appear, because Mr. Padgett desires to share Spencer's message with as many people as possible," said Bristow. "Public universities throughout the country are being considered as possible venues. The University of Cincinnati is not the first – nor will it be the last –university at which Spencer speaks."

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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