Lawyer says he’ll sue Ohio State for not allowing Richard Spencer to rent space

FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2016, file photo, Richard Spencer, who leads a movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism, speaks at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

CLEVELAND (AP) — A lawyer said Friday he’ll file a lawsuit against Ohio State University because it failed to respond to a request to rent space for an appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

“The die is cast,” attorney Kyle Bristow said in a Twitter message written in Latin.

Bristow said earlier this week he wanted an “unequivocal and unconditional assertion” from Ohio State by 5 p.m. Friday that it would allow Spencer to speak.

The university said last week it couldn’t accommodate a Spencer event as requested on Nov. 15 for safety reasons but would decide by the end of this week whether viable alternatives exist. It didn’t immediately return a phone message left Friday seeking comment.

Michael Carpenter, who is representing the university, said the school stands by its decision in a letter to Bristow. Click here to read that letter. 

The University of Cincinnati was faced with a similar deadline but decided to allow Spencer to hold an event there. Both universities were contacted last month about allowing Spencer to visit but delayed making final decisions until Bristow threatened to sue.

The Ohio universities are the latest among a string of universities targeted for appearances by Spencer since he participated in an August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to deadly violence. The Charlottesville rally left universities across the U.S. struggling to ensure campus safety in the face of recruiting efforts by white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups while balancing concerns over freedom of speech.

Spencer spoke Thursday at the University of Florida, where counter demonstrators greatly outnumbered his supporters, drowned out his speech with anti-Nazi chants and booed him off the stage under the watchful eye of police officers in riot gear.

The same day, another lawyer filed a federal lawsuit against Pennsylvania State University for denying a request to rent space for Spencer to speak, claiming free speech violations. Penn State’s president said when turning down the request that the university supports free speech but such an event could result in “disruption and violence.”

Spencer said he considered his Florida speech a success even though he was booed away and “wasn’t able to talk to people.”

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