White Supremacists leader, Richard Spencer says that President Trump’s denouncement of hate groups was not serious. Veuer’s Natasha Abellard (@NatashaAbellard) has the story.
Richard Spencer, a self-proclaimed leader of the so-called “alt-right” and a proponent of white supremacist viewpoints, will be allowed to speak at the University of Cincinnati, President Neville Pinto announced Friday evening.
Pinto acknowledged Spencer’s appearance will be dismaying to those who “feel targeted” by his rhetoric. “His hate only makes our love for you stronger,” Pinto wrote in a portion of his email directed at those members of the campus community.
The university president cited the importance of free speech in making his decision.
“As a state institution, we must adhere to the foundational rights embedded in the First Amendment,” Pinto wrote in an email sent to UC students and faculty. “That includes protecting speech of all types at all times — even, perhaps especially, words that are blatantly hateful or offensive.”
“After all, we cannot silence those with whom we disagree without opening the doors to our own voices being silenced by those who disagree with us,” Pinto’s email states.
Like many large U.S. campuses, UC has a diverse student population. At least 1-in-5 students is a person of color.
“You are the reason this university is a first-class destination for the best and the brightest,” Pinto wrote. “Your difference is our strength, our pride, our purpose.”
He called on the UC community to support “the values of inclusion, respect, responsibility and dignity that we all hold dear. Indeed, now is the time to make our Bearcat bond stronger than ever.”
In September, Georgia State student Cameron Padgett, 29, requested Spencer speak at UC. Attorney Kyle Bristow wrote to UC and Ohio State University saying each school had until Friday to make space available on their campuses for Spencer to speak or face a lawsuit.
Spencer was one of the organizers at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally held in Aug.11 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car driven by former Northern Kentucky resident James Alex Fields Jr. was raced through a crowd, authorities said.
“To be clear: Spencer, a white nationalist from the National Policy Institute, was not invited by any student, faculty or staff group affiliated with UC,” Pinto wrote to the UC community. “In fact, countless members of our community have courageously pointed out that his ideology of hate and exclusion is antithetical to the core values of a civil society and an academic community. I stand with you in condemning dehumanizing views and racist practices.”
Pinto said there would be more information about the event, safety and logistics shared in the coming days.
UC and Ohio State are the latest in a string of colleges targeted by Padgett, who views himself as the organizer of Spencer’s “collegiate speaking tour.”
Spencer is set to speak at the University of Florida on Thursday, Oct. 19, after an initial request was previously denied.
Michigan State University is currently being sued by Bristow after the university denied a speaking engagement. The lawsuit argues the institution is violating Spencer’s First Amendment rights.
The term “alt-right,” is a term used frequently by white supremacists and white nationalists to describe their political leanings or beliefs. Their platform emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States.
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