CINCINNATI, OH (AP) — White nationalist Richard Spencer’s planned appearance at the University of Cincinnati has been scheduled for March 14, an attorney who has been pushing efforts to get him booked onto college campuses said Tuesday.
Much of the campus will have emptied out then for March spring break. And a university spokesman said no contract had been signed yet.
Some universities have refused to let Spencer speak, and attorney Kyle Bristow has filed lawsuits that are pending against Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State.
“The Cincinnati Bearcats are putting the other public universities to shame which are trampling upon the fundamental right of free speech,” Bristow said via email. “Students have a right to hear new ideas and to respectfully challenge them.”
Bristow said the March date was acceptable because plenty of lead time was needed for scheduling flights and other travel needs. He said he’s certain that students interested in attending the event can do so.
In October, the University of Cincinnati trustees condemned hate while defending a decision to allow Spencer to speak on campus, an appearance the school president has said is already stirring fear. The trustees’ resolution said they believe in upholding the First Amendment and the fundamental role of free speech at a public university.
University of Cincinnati spokesman Greg Vehr said the school won’t discuss any specifics until there is a signed agreement.
A Nov. 30 letter from a school official to Bristow referred to Marriott International Inc. refusing to allow Spencer to use its nearby Kingsgate Conference Center. Bristow said the speech will be on campus at Zimmer Hall, although he hasn’t received a rental contract yet.
Spencer uses the term “alt-right” to describe a mix of racism, white nationalism and anti-immigration views.
UC President Neville Pinto , who was born in India, has emphasized that Spencer wasn’t invited by anyone with the school. Pinto pledged earlier that the safety and security of the campus community will be the top priority for a planned appearance he has said was “provoking fear and unease for our community, especially those who are direct targets of his hate, prejudice and racism.”
Authorities estimated security costs at $600,000 for Spencer’s Oct. 19 appearance at the University of Florida, where counter-protesters far outnumbered Spencer supporters and booed him off the stage as police officers in riot gear stood watch.
Spencer was a scheduled speaker at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August that led to deadly violence when a man struck and killed a protester with his car.