GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Richard Spencer is scheduled to speak from 2:30pm - 4:30pm at the Phillip's Center on the University of Florida's campus on October 19.
The first request from the National Policy Institute was to rent a facility on Sept. 12. UF denied the request after the violence in Charlottesville and after imminent threats targeting Gainesville and UF.
UF’s position regarding Richard Spencer is still the same. As a state entity however, UF must allow the free speech. The university cannot prohibit groups or individuals from speaking in public forums except for limited exceptions, which include safety and security.
Allowing Spencer to speak in October provided enough time to make significant security arrangements.
Spencer was not invited and no one at UF is sponsoring the event.
The National Policy Institute is paying more than $10,000 to rent the facility and for security within the venue. The event will cost at least $500,000 for additional security. This includes costs from the University of Florida Police Department, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol and other agencies providing first responders.
Protests and counter protests have been a concern since students first heard the white nationalist speaker could come to campus.
Some students say they’re frustrated at how much the event will cost to host and what other events it could take away from.
“Bettering the students experiences, we try to make the dorms better, we have more caring events,” said Student Savannah Lee
“All this money from tuition and different costs from the students is outrageous to me, and I don’t really appreciate that my money is going to that,” Jacob Gater.
Classes will resume as scheduled on October 19, but the university has provided information for those who feel unsafe to attend.
For answers to any questions you may have about Spencer's event, you can visit freespeech.ufl.edu/qa-for-1019-event/.