Dear Campus Community:
Amid serious concerns for safety, we have decided to deny the National Policy Institute's request to rent event space at the University of Florida.
This decision was made after assessing potential risks with campus, community, state and federal law enforcement officials following violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., and continued calls online and in social media for similar violence in Gainesville such as those decreeing: "The Next Battlefield is in Florida."
I find the racist rhetoric of Richard Spencer and white nationalism repugnant and counter to everything the university and this nation stands for.
That said, the University of Florida remains unwaveringly dedicated to free speech and the spirit of public discourse. However, the First Amendment does not require a public institution to risk imminent violence to students and others.
The likelihood of violence and potential injury - not the words or ideas - has caused us to take this action.
W. Kent Fuchs
University of Florida
I do not expect that this will stop Spencer from coming to Gainesville and speaking, and he probably has good grounds for a 1st Amendment suit if UF is departing from normal policy here.
I expect Spencer to come, and I expect his thug army to arrive with him. In other words, I don't think the situation has really changed.