The University of Florida refused a request for an event that would have taken place on September 12th in which Richard Spencer, a so proclaimed “alt right” leader, would have been speaking. This decision came after the unfolding of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in significant violence and even the death of a young woman. Spencer had led the “Unite the Right” rally, one of the opposing sides of the event in Charlottesville.
“The likelihood of violence and potential injury, not the words or ideas, has caused us to take this action,” as stated by UF President Kent Fuchs.
A lawsuit may be on the table against the University of Florida regarding Spencer’s First Amendment rights to “freedom of speech” and violation of contract, though it is continuously declared by UF that they did not indeed sign any agreements, instead openly suggesting the idea. It is also stated by Fuchs that the racism rhetoric of Richard Spencer goes against the foundation on which the institution stands for, and the University does not believe they should risk the campus becoming “the next battleground” initiating violence among students. A case like this has occurred in the past where Auburn University tried to cancel the speaker’s event on the same grounds, but ultimately was judicially overruled. Texas A&M (Agricultural and Mechanical) and few others have also since cancelled Spencer’s upcoming appearance due to the same hazardous safety conditions.