On October 16, 2017, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott declared a “state of emergency” due to Richard Spencer planning on giving a speech at the University of Florida. In an executive order, Scott announced that a “threat of a potential emergency is imminent” in Alaucha county, where the University of Florida is located.
After the events in Charlottesville, which Spencer had a leading role in, the University of Florida had forbidden Spencer from hosting any events on their campus, refunding Spencer for what he had paid to rent a space on the university’s campus in September. However, after the University of Florida capitulated and recognized that as a state institution, free speech cannot be limited on their grounds, they were forced to allow Spencer to have a platform on their campus.
“If someone is coming to speak I feel like declaring the state of emergency is out of bounds,” Spencer said. “I feel like this may be an excuse to cancel the event but I simply don’t know. There’s no good reason why the speech shouldn’t take place.”
Spencer’s speech is scheduled to take place on October 19, 2017 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Spencer’s organization, The National Policy Institute, is paying “the allowable costs of $10,564 to rent the facility and for security within the venue,” according to the university’s website. Counselors will be provided by the university, funded by public tax dollars, to assist any distressed individuals who are triggered by Spencer’s mean words.
Nearly 3,000 protestors have signed up to picket Spencer’s presence and over 7,000 have expressed interest in attending the event as a part of the “No Nazis at UF” protest
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