© 2021 Cincinnati Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
SPOTLIGHT: Your 2021 voter guide to Cincinnati's races for mayor, City Council, school board and more ahead of Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 2. >>
Local News

Richard Spencer's Speech At UC Postponed, He Plans To Reschedule


Attorneys for white nationalist Richard Spencer now say they are "shooting for this summer or fall" for Spencer to speak at the University of Cincinnati after postponing a scheduled March 14 appearance. This is because they're waiting for rulings in a series of motions in a lawsuit they've filed against the university.

According to lawyer Kyle Bristow, "The tentative March 14, 2018, date for Richard Spencer to speak at the University of Cincinnati has been derailed due to the unconstitutional speech tax that is cost-prohibitive. "

In a letter to the UC community, UC says Spencer couldn't have the date now even if he wanted it.

As of today, the university’s proposed rental agreement for a March 14 speaking date has not been signed nor fully executed. Thus, at this time, that proposed date is no longer an option. The university’s Public Safety Department requires a minimum of six weeks to prepare for safety needs related to such an event. Because the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff are our top priority, we must have sufficient time to implement a comprehensive plan for safety and security in partnership with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

WVXU reported the lawsuit in this story.

The lawsuit filed in federal court alleges UC is charging too much for security measures surrounding the visit. The complaint calls this a free speech violation and requests a judgment of $2 million and a jury trial.

According to the lawsuit, UC told Spencer's team the total cost would be $11,333; $500 for the room rental and $10,833 for "security costs and fees." The document calls UC's criteria for calculating the fee "facially unconstitutional."

In a statement, UC stands by its security fee.

"Spencer was not invited or sponsored by any member of the university community, and like other non-sponsored speakers, he must pay a fee to rent university space. This includes a security fee," says spokesman Greg Vehr. "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."

UC agreed in October to allow Spencer to appear on campus after he threatened to sue the university.