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UC Will Allow White Nationalist To Speak On Campus

Wikimedia Commons
Richard Spencer speaking in November, 2016.

Update 6 p.m.: The University of Cincinnati is confirming it will allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus.

"As a state institution, we must adhere to the foundational rights embedded in the First Amendment," writes UC President Neville Pinto in a statement. "That includes protecting speech of all types at all times—even, perhaps especially, words that are blatantly hateful or offensive. After all, we cannot silence those with whom we disagree without opening the doors to our own voices being silenced by those who disagree with us."

Pinto also condemns Spencer's "dehumanizing views and racist practices" in his statement and encourages members of the university community to "seize this opportunity to live into action the values of inclusion, respect, responsibility and dignity that we all hold dear."

Pinto closes by saying information about alternative programming is forthcoming.

The attorney for white nationalist Richard Spencer says lawsuits against the University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University are on hold.

Prior to UC's announcement, Spencer's attorney, Kyle Bristow, tweeted UC had agreed to let Spencer's group rent a space for Spencer to speak.

Furthermore, Bristow tweets, Ohio State is "considering options."

Ohio Public Radio member station WOSU is reporting Ohio State says it has refused Spencer's request but is considering alternatives.

In a letter to Bristow on Friday afternoon, Ohio State senior vice president and general counsel Christopher Culley said the school determined the request "cannot be accommodated without substantial risk to public safety." However, Culley said the university is currently "considering other alternatives."

Spencer requested in late September to speak, or have one of his associates speak, on the Ohio State and UC campuses. Ohio State initially refused, then said it was reviewing a request from Spencer's associate, Cameron Padgett.

The Ohio universities are the latest challenged by Spencer since a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August that led to deadly violence.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.