This story is part of Untold Florida, a WUFT News series built from your questions. Shirley Lasseter, an audience member, asked us, “I would love to know the the volume of calls, letters and emails received by UF in response to the proposed rental by Richard Spencer.”
After officially announcing the date of his speech, the University of Florida received numerous responses from the public about Richard Spencer’s planned arrival on campus.
The president of the National Policy Institute is set to speak at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on October 19, though he was not invited by the university to do so.
UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said the university has received too many responses to count. Many of the emails the Office of University Relations obtained date back to mid-August, which is when Spencer’s group initially tried to reserve a space on campus.
There were also several messages sent in after it was announced there would be at least $500,000 in security costs, and some are concerned with use of public funding for an event like this one.
Alumni, students, faculty and other members of the UF community expressed their concerns for the risk of violence and safety of the public on that day. Others thanked President Kent Fuchs for his leadership and “voice of reason” expressed in several of his emails about the event.
When reached out to for comment on the public response his group has received, NPI Executive Director Evan McLaren wrote in an email, “There’s not much about the public response that is revelatory either. Some people support us, some oppose us. This is par for the course.”
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