The University of Cincinnati board of trustees has condemned hate while defending a decision to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus.
The board’s statement Tuesday recognizes the fundamental role of free speech at a public university, saying it should be “the marketplace of ideas.” The board also denounced prejudice and racism, saying, “Hate has no place on our campus or in our world.”
UC recently announced that they could rent space to the National Policy Institute for an appearance by Spencer, after a legal threat from Michigan attorney Kyle Bristow. Neville G. Pinto, UC’s president, said Spencer was not invited by any student, faculty or staff group affiliated with the school.
Pinto said the university will work with state and federal law enforcement to implement a security plan for the event. No date has been set yet.
Last week, The Ohio State University declined a similar speech request, and Bristow filed a federal lawsuit against the school on Sunday. An attorney for Ohio State stated in a letter that while the school “values freedom of speech,” a Spencer appearance would represent a “substantial risk to public safety.”
Georgia State student Cameron Padgett contacted UC and The Ohio State University last month to request space for Spencer’s speech, part of a nationwide tour of college campuses. Spencer’s most recent stop, at the University of Florida in Gainesville, was met by a large number of peaceful protests and ended in the arrests of several Spencer supporters.