Florida university braces for speech by white nationalist


"A lot of people aren't going to be around campus because they're anxious".

An outspoken supporter of Trump during the 2016 campaign, Spencer rose from relative obscurity after widely circulated videos showed some Trump supporters giving Nazi-style salutes to Spencer during a gathering in Washington to celebrate the Republican candidate's win.

A day before white nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida, its president affirmed his belief in free speech but said the security costs of holding such an event at a public university put an unfair burden on taxpayers.

Florida governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency ahead of the speech, "as an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe", he said in a statement.

Spencer organized the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that sparked violent protests between counter-protesters and white supremacist groups. According to the ADL, he has become "more openly anti-Semitic in recent years".

"Everyone is welcome at #SpenceratUF", he tweeted before the event Thursday.

Spencer denies that he is interested in riling racist tensions.

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Spencer returned to Charlottesville in October with dozens of supporters carrying tiki torches and chanting phrases like "You will not replace us".

University President Kent Fuchs has urged students to snub the speech.

The University of Florida expects to spend $500,000 on security for a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

The federal lawsuit by Cameron Padgett, a Georgia university student organizing a tour of campuses by Spencer, sought damages and an injunction to force Penn State to rent him a conference room or lecture hall. He said he agrees with about 75% of what Spencer says, but said he thinks Spencer sometimes "beats around the bush".

The Miami Herald reports those tickets are being handed out on a first-come, first-served basis by Spencer's National Policy Institute, a Southern Poverty Center-designated hate group.

He called Thursday's event as a victory, proof "that we are persevering".

"Messages of hate on our campus are contrary to our values", Fuchs said. He spent part of the day at the Roth Family Jewish Community Center in Orlando to highlight the $1 million in security funding for Jewish day schools that are part of his 2018-19 budget. The tickets are free and available to the general public. "I believe education is his greatest enemy", Fuchs said.