UF initially rejected a request from Spencer to speak on campus September 12. However, after being threatened with a lawsuit by Spencer's group, it seems President Fuchs and the university have changed their minds.
"Although UF leadership has denounced Spencer's white supremacist rhetoric, the University, as a state entity, must allow the free expression of all viewpoints", the university said in a release. "We can not prohibit groups or individuals from speaking in our public forums except for limited exceptions, which include safety and security". But the university said it will cost the school more than half a million dollars to shore up security on campus and in the city.
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UF said it can not pass on additional security costs to Spencer's organization, the National Policy Institute. That includes costs of the University of Florida Police Department, the Gainesville Police Department, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol and other agencies, according to the university.
Spencer, the architect of the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville that left one dead, is renting speaking space at UF's Phillips Center on October 19 at 2:30 p.m.
"We understand that this event and possible protest provokes fear, especially for members of our Gator family who are targets of messages of hate and violence simply due to their skin color, religion, culture, sexual orientation or beliefs", said the university in the Q&A.
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Classes will not be canceled that day, but the university did address absences in the Q&A. "Faculty have been asked to be understanding with students on a case-by-case basis".
The university also indicated it is preparing for protesters. "Law enforcement will closely monitor groups marching into other areas of campus".
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