The alt-right leader canceled the engagement because of UC’s security fee
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Vas Panagiotopoulos | Alt-right leader Richard Spencer will no longer be speaking at the University of Cincinnati after being told there would be an $11,000 security fee. Spencer’s lawyer has filed a lawsuit, claiming the fee is unconstitutional.
Kyle Bristow, an attorney representing alt-right speaker Richard Spencer, reported to the Associated Press that Spencer would not be speaking at University of Cincinnati (UC) on March 14 as planned because of UC’s $11,000 security fee. Bristow filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the security fee was excessive and unconstitutional.
When Spencer began planning to speak in the fall, the Xavier, UC and Cincinnati communities retaliated, opposing Spencer’s hateful rhetoric.
“I don’t like the guy. I can’t believe we have f*cking Nazis around in 2018,” first-year history major CJ Karwowski said. “I get that this is his right, but he still shouldn’t speak because I don’t like unwavering *ssholes speaking on campuses.”
UC president Neville Pinto and multiple UC student organizations, such as the United Black Student Organization and College Republicans, have issued statements denouncing Spencer. Hamilton County Court Clerk Aftab Pureval, a UC alum, created a video with the current student president to discourage Spencer’s visit.
Xavier’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion held a student panel to educate students and in November. The panel was titled “Stop the Hate: Who is Richard Spencer? Why is he coming to UC?”
Cameron Padgett, the Georgia State University student who has organized Spencer’s university speeches at UC, Ohio State University (OSU) and six other universities, will attempt to reschedule Spencer’s speech, according to a tweet from Bristow. Padgett previously won a lawsuit against Auburn University for preventing Spencer from speaking. Padgett is currently suing other institutions, including OSU, for denying Spencer the right to speak.
Pinto and UC spokesperson Greg Vehr have been adamant in their support of free speech protected by the First Amendment. In response to the accusation that requesting a security fee was unconstitutional, Vehr explained that all speakers not requested by students are required to pay security fees.
“The fee assessed is a mere fraction of the costs we anticipate incurring as a result of this event, but we hold firm in our efforts to respect the principles of free speech while maintaining safety on campus,” Vehr said.
Junior Marco Cota felt that Spencer was not protected under the First Amendment.
“I like freedom of speech,” Cota said. “It’s part of what makes everything great [in America] but if you’re going to use your freedom of speech to hurt others, that’s not right… I mean it’s good that he’s not speaking, but the only reason he’s not speaking is a technicality.”
Spencer’s speeches have been accompanied with violence. Notably, counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed in the violence surrounding the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charleston, Va. After initially attempting to ban Spencer, the University of Florida (UF) hosted him in October. Three of Spencer’s supporters were arrested for firing guns into the crowd of protesters outside the event. UF spent approximately $500,000 in security for Spencer’s event, according to the Enquirer.
“What he has to say could be interesting to hear, but he’s just had such a bad past,” Cota said. “If you want to hear both sides of the argument, you already know what he’d say. So you’re not going to get anything else.”
By: Heather Gast ~Staff Writer~