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White Nationalist to Speak at UF. His Cost: $10K. UF's Cost: $500K

White Nationalist to Speak at UF. His Cost: $10K. UF's Cost: $500K”

The University of Florida will spend more than $500,000 after white nationalist Richard Spencer rented an on-campus venue for a speech later this month-and the school is not happy about it.

Unable to ban the speech, the University of Florida is instead banning a number of items from the event, including guns, torches, flagpoles, megaphones and even backpacks, in hopes of keeping the event safe.

The university claims its decision was because of their belief that the state institution must allow all people with different points of views their right to free speech. According to the university spokeswomen, Janine Sikes, the rejection was "based on specific security threats".

But university officials caved when threatened with a First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of Spencer, the NPI and Cameron Padgett, a Georgia State University student instrumental in organizing the speech. But the university said it will cost the school more than half a million dollars to shore up security on campus and in the city. After Auburn University, in Alabama, denied an event by Spencer, a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. "This includes costs from the University of Florida Police Department, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol and other agencies who are providing first responders".

The Charlottesville rally turned deadly when a vehicle barreled into a group of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Spencer marched alongside the protestors and is widely known as a white supremacist.

The release also stresses that Spencer, who has advocated for the creation of a white "ethno-state" in North America, was not invited to speak on campus.

A separate event "promoting dialogue, education and embracing difference and unity" is planned to start the same time at Spencer's event, the university said. "It's not just important for me". Given that, no employee or student can interfere with the freedom of speech or freedom of movement of any member or guest of the university.



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