White nationalist Richard Spencer is continuing an effort to try to hold an event at the University of Florida after his request to rent space was denied earlier this month.
UF President Kent Fuchs sent an email on Wednesday night to the campus community explaining that Spencer’s organization, the National Policy Institute, has obtained legal counsel and intends to continue with plans to hold the event on Sept. 12.
While no formal legal action had been taken at the time of the email, Fuchs said the university is “prepared to vigorously defend” its decision to deny Spencer a permit to speak. The email reads in full:
Aug. 30, 2017
Dear Gator community:
Due to the threat of violence, the University of Florida denied two weeks ago a request by the National Policy Institute to rent space for a Sept. 12 event for white nationalist Richard Spencer.
We were informed late this afternoon that representatives of the organization have retained legal counsel and plan to pursue efforts to hold this event as originally requested.
No formal complaint has been filed at this time. We are prepared to vigorously defend our decision. The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority.
Our university police department has been working closely with local, state and federal agencies over the last few weeks and will continue to do so.
We understand some media organizations have been told there is a contract between the university and the National Policy Institute for the event. No contract was ever executed.
We are committed to keeping you updated as we receive new information. In addition, UF’s information line at 1-866-UF-FACTS (833-2287) may also be a resource.
W. Kent Fuchs
University of Florida
UPDATE: On Friday the University of Florida has sent a letter to the National Policy Institute’s attorney, reaffirming its decision to deny NPI’s request. “At this time, we have not been presented with a new request for a future date. However, should that occur, we will use the same careful deliberation and consideration of safety and security factors that we did previously and make that decision accordingly in order to meet our legal obligations,” UF said in a statement.