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Agreement Could Be Near On White Nationalist Speech At UF

Sep 6, 2017

The University of Florida and representatives of white nationalist leader Richard Spencer are nearing an agreement that would allow Spencer to speak on campus, a lawyer representing Spencer and his backers said in an email Tuesday.

 First Amendment attorney Gary Edinger said an announcement could come Wednesday after the two sides hold a telephone call. Edinger represents Spencer, the National Policy Institute and Cameron Padgett, a Georgia State University student who is an organizer of the proposed Gainesville event.

UF President Kent Fuchs last month rejected a request for Spencer, president of the institute, to speak Sept. 12 on campus. But with a federal lawsuit looming, university officials said Friday they were considering allowing Spencer to speak.

“It appears that a resolution can be reached and that litigation will not be necessary,” Edinger said in the email Tuesday to reporters. “Mr. Padgett has received assurances that Mr. Spencer's speaking engagement will go forward on a different date, but most likely in the same venue: the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on campus. We have not yet established a new date or terms for the speech.”

Fuchs had cited security concerns in rejecting the initial request for Spencer to speak on campus. The concerns came after a white nationalist rally turned deadly last month in Charlottesville, Va.