CINCINNATI (WCMH/AP) — The University of Cincinnati says it will allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus.
Spencer’s attorney Kyle Bristow told UC and The Ohio State University they had until Friday to agree to make campus space available for Spencer to speak or face a lawsuit. Georgia college student Cameron Padgett contacted both universities last month about renting space. He asked the University of Cincinnati in late September to provide an auditorium to accommodate 800 people for Spencer to speak later this month.
OSU has denied Padgett’s request, saying the request “cannot be accommodated without substantial risk to public safety.”
UC’s president, Neville Pinto, said in a statement that the university “must adhere to the foundational rights embedded in the First Amendment. That includes protecting speech of all types at all times—even, perhaps especially, words that are blatantly hateful or offensive.” Read Pinto’s full statement here.
The Ohio universities are the latest targeted for appearances by Spencer since he participated in the August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to deadly violence.
Spencer is scheduled to speak Oct. 19 at the University of Florida. That university’s president is urging students to stay away from Spencer’s appearance and to speak out against “hate and racism.”
UF says it expects to spend $500,000 on security for the event. It said as a public institution it is legally obligated to allow the expression of many viewpoints by external groups, such as Spencer’s National Policy Institute.