As one university faces a lawsuit over its refusal to host white nationalist Richard Spencer, another is reluctantly conceding to the idea. The University of Florida says it will allow Spencer to speak on its campus on Oct. 19 in what will be the alt-right leader's first college event since an August rally at the University of Virginia that culminated in a deadly demonstration a day later, reports the Washington Post. UF initially denied a request from Spencer's National Policy Institute for a September event citing security concerns. Spencer then hired an attorney who threatened the school with a lawsuit, and UF announced Thursday that NPI would pay a standard fee of $10,500 to rent a space and provide security on campus on Oct. 19, reports the Gainesville Sun.
"No one at the University of Florida invited Richard Spencer. The racist ideas espoused by this organization and this individual conflict with the values of this institution," UF says in an email to students, per the Independent Florida Alligator. But UF "must allow the free expression of all viewpoints," a university rep adds, noting the school will pay some $500,000 for additional security on campus and in Gainesville for which it is unable to bill Spencer's NPI. Spencer, who is concerned about violence at the event, says "the fact that so much money is going to have to be spent on security results directly from people who want to shut down free speech" and "we need to fight this." He adds it will be an "exciting" event. "I expect good intellectual push-back from the students," he says. "That's part of the fun of it all."