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Latest Updates On National Policy Institute Event

UF students protest against Richard Spencer at the Plaza of the Americas on Monday (Photo by Sasha Saliba/WUFT)
UF students protest against Richard Spencer at the Plaza of the Americas on Monday (Photo by Sasha Saliba/WUFT)

Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in Alachua County as white nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida on October 19, 2017.

“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, however, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority. I have been in constant contact with Sheriff Darnell who has requested this Executive Order to ensure that county and local law enforcement have every needed resource. This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe,” said Scott.

"This measure, which came at the request of Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell, is not in response to any specific heightened threat. It is a process that enables various law enforcement agencies to work together more efficiently. For example, agencies from multiple jurisdictions can be mobilized, if necessary, without bureaucratic delays. We appreciate Gov. Scott’s support and commitment to UF’s campus safety," reads UF statement regarding Gov. Scott's declaration.

The community has been urged earlier by the president of the University of Florida Kent Fuchs to not provide Spencer with the spotlight he, and his followers, are seeking and to not let the message of racism and hate go unchallenged.

"No one at our university invited Mr. Spencer, nor is anyone at UF sponsoring this event," wrote President Fuchs in an email sent to the student body. "UF has been clear and consistent in its denunciation of all hate speech and racism, and in particular the racist speech and white-nationalist values of Mr. Spencer."

Meanwhile, as part of the #TogetherUF campaign, student leaders at UF are set to host what they’re calling a “virtual assembly” on Thursday.

That event is set to start at 2:30 p.m. — the same time Spencer is scheduled to begin speaking inside UF’s Phillips Center.

The virtual assembly "will be a series of videos and performances from around the UF community to open up dialogue about race relations, cooperation, diversity, and much more,” a release on the event says. “Current students, faculty and staff will be able to view the assembly.”

Organizers say they’ll be posting updates about the event on Facebook.

Simultaneously, the campaign will be raising money to go to UF Student Affairs’ crisis fund, which helps students who are in need of hurricane relief, for example, or emergency medical care.

Below are other updates regarding security measures, closures, expectations, parking changes, bus routes and other information in regard to the event on Thursday.

General information:

Richard Spencer will be speaking at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Main Stage on October 19, 2017, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Security and what to expect:

The University of Florida Police along with local, state, and federal agencies have created plans aimed at keeping everyone safe and to stop potential disturbances before they begin. Police presence will be increased before, during, and after the event. Upon arrival, all attendees will be swept by metal detectors and any lawbreakers will be subject to immediate arrest and prosecution.

- Report any threatening calls to: (352) 392-1111

-If you see anything out of the ordinary, report it to police: 911

Students, faculty and staff:

All students, faculty and staff are required to have their Gator 1 identification October 18-20 in order to enter certain buildings on campus. Certain buildings will either require the presence of a UF ID or provide swipe access.

Road closures:

On October 19, 2017, all the Cultural Plaza parking lots and garage will be closed. Certain parts of Hull Road and Bledsoe Drive will be closed as well. This area will continue to be updated as updates occur.

  • Campus road closures at 8 a.m.:

    • Hull Road between SW 34th Street and Museum Road
    • Bledsoe Drive between Radio Road and Hull Road
    • Surge Area Drive between Natural Area Drive and Archer Road
    • Natural Area Drive between Hull Road and the Performing Arts Center
  • City road closure 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.:

    • SW 34th Street between SW 2nd Avenue and SW 20th Avenue

Commuters are encouraged to take alternative routes. Provisions are being made for residents of the apartment complexes south of SW 2nd Avenue. Anyone traveling to/from the UF Orthopaedics Institute, Museum Walk Apartments and the Hilton UF Conference Center should use Hull Road to SW 38th Terrace to SW 20th Avenue.

Commuters (including faculty and staff) will not be able to park in the lot behind the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center.

Students, faculty and staff with valid "Any Decal" parking decals may park their vehicles on Flavet Field beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, through Friday. This is limited, temporary parking and vehicles must be removed by 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20.


Available parking:

  • 13th Street
  • University Avenue
  • Archer Road

Ticketholder parking:

Individuals WITH tickets only may park in the commuter lot behind the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center via SW 38th Terrace off of SW 20th Avenue. Please see above map.

Disability/ADA parking for people with event tickets:

Individuals WITH tickets only may park in the Hull Road commuter lot behind the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center via SW 38th Terrace off of SW 20th Avenue.

ADA shuttle service from this parking area will be provided for disabled event ticket holders only. This lot is accessible only via SW 38th Street off SW 20th Avenue. See above map.

The ADA shuttle will depart the Orthopaedics parking lot promptly at 1:15 PM for the event area.  The return shuttle will depart from the event area promptly at 4:50 PM.  All riders are required to present their tickets in order to board the shuttle.  Individuals without tickets will not be permitted on board.

Due to road closures and traffic impacts, there will be only one scheduled shuttle trip each way.  Please anticipate that shuttles will be detoured around road closures and may require some extra time to complete the route.

For additional information, please contact Transportation and Parking Services at 352-392-7275.

No parking:

  • Parking garage and lots between Southwest Recreation Center and the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
  • UVS Village and Maguire Village
  • Hilton Hotel and Conference Center
  • Lakeside Housing Complex

Phillips Center Event Schedule:

  • Doors open for the public at 1:30 p.m.
  • No one will be allowed to enter the Phillips Center without a ticket
  • All attendees will be screened by law enforcement and metal detectors
  • Ticket entrance west of the Harn on Hull Road


  • Route 117 (2 buses) - CLOSED
  • Route 118 (4buses) - CLOSED
  • Route 119 (1 bus) - CLOSED
  • Route 125 (2 buses) - CLOSED
  • Route 20 (5 buses) - detoured to Archer Rd then 23rd Dr
  • Route 21 (4 buses) - detoured to Archer Rd then 23rd Dr
  • Route 28 (4 buses) - detoured to Archer Rd then 23rd Dr
  • Route 33 (4 buses) - detoured to Archer Rd then 23rd Dr
  • Route 34 (3 buses) – detoured to Archer Rd, to Gale Lemerand Drive then to Stadium Rd

Traffic at the intersection of 20th Ave and 34th will backup causing even further delays in the affected bus schedules.

Please be aware that route detours and/or cancellations may happen quickly.  For up-to-the-minute updates, go to www.Go-RTS.com or follow them on Facebook.


Classes will continue to remain on schedule, except for those within proximity to the event. All closures and cancellations of classes, as of today, include:

  • Fifield Hall
  • Entomology
  • Microbiology
  • IFAS complex of buildings south of Hull Road

The University of Florida faculty are to be understanding on a case-by-case basis for students in fear of attending class.

For updates, visit https://freespeech.ufl.edu/qa-for-1019-event/


Cameron Padgett, responsible for ticket distribution, is holding 700 tickets for the event and is already beginning to distribute them to people specifically reaching out to him. One hundred tickets have been set aside and reserved for the press.

On Thursday, before the event, tickets will be available, but the location is currently not confirmed.

Prohibited items:

The items below are prohibited at the speaking engagement:

  • Weapons, firearms or simulated firearms, tasers, knives, sharp objects
  • Lighters, matches, torches or open flame
  • Any athletic equipment or other items which could be used as a weapon
  • Masks of any kind, goggles, bandanas/scarfs, neck gaiters
  • Flag Poles, bats, clubs, sticks (including sticks on signs)
  • Aerosol/pressurized cans, mace
  • Chains, padlocks, bicycle locks
  • Shields
  • Fireworks
  • Backpacks, bags, purses, clutches
  • Signs made of anything other than cloth, paper, foam core, cardboard
  • Cans, metal or glass containers, premixed beverages or alcoholic beverages
  • No water bottles of any kind
  • Pop-up tents, canopies or hammocks
  • Wagons or pull carts
  • Coolers
  • Drones or other unmanned aircraft systems
  • Pets (excluding ADA service animals)
  • Grills, propane tanks
  • Bicycles, scooters, skateboards
  • Tobacco products of any kind-
  • Umbrellas
  • Laser pointers
  • Water balloons
  • Megaphones or other amplified sound devices
  • Any other items that campus police determine pose a risk to safety or a disruption of classes or vehicular or pedestrian traffic

Information lines:

  • 311: For general information
  • 1-866 UF FACTS: For information specific to UF or faculty, staff or students
Kayla Ziadie is a reporter for WUFT News. Follow her on Twitter, @KaylaZiadie.
Abigail is a reporter for WUFT who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.