UF President responds to latest report on National Policy Institute speech
(Updated 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 30)
In a letter to the UF campus community Wednesday evening, President Fuchs stated that the University was informed late today that representatives of the National Policy Institute have retained legal counsel and plan to pursue efforts to hold their event on campus. As of Wednesday evening, they have not made a formal filing.
Despite some media reports, the National Policy Institute has no contract with the University of Florida for their event.
The University of Florida denied the request on August 16, based on serious security concerns. The National Policy Institute reached out to the university to reserve space for a speaking event featuring white nationalist and “alt-right” activist Richard Spencer on September 12. This organization is not affiliated with UF. No student groups or other groups affiliated with the university are sponsoring this speech.
The University of Florida stands by our decision to deny space based on imminent security concerns. Our legal counsel is prepared to vigorously defend the safety of our students, faculty and staff. UF Administration, staff and university police are working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to prepare our campus if this event takes place.
UF is required to rent to third parties and not allowed to discriminate on the basis of content. However, the First Amendment does not require a public institution like UF to risk violence and injuries in the pursuit of free speech.
President Fuchs' official statement can be found at http://statements.ufl.edu/statements/2017/08/update-on-potential-speaker-from-president-fuchs.html.
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