Taxpayers forced to spend half a million dollars on neo-nazi Richard Spencer’s University visit
A prominent neo-nazi will be speaking on a University campus this afternoon at a cost of over $500,000 to the taxpayer.
Neo-nazi white supremacist Richard Spencer will be visiting the University of Florida this afternoon with the aim of giving a speech to students on the campus.
Spencer was one of the main instigators of the Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ white supremacist march in August.
To protect the neo-nazi from counter-protestors, the University of Florida will have to pay over half a million dollars in security fees.
The University of Florida is publicly funded and therefore, is technically a government institution.
This means that under the right to free speech, the University is unable to prevent speakers on their campus unless there is a significant threat to safety and security.
Spencer, who once was shut down spectacularly when he shared a song from Cabaret, had previously requested the use of campus facilities for September.
However, the University deferred his request due to specific security threats and the relatively short time since the rally in Charlottesville.
The University of Florida has released a detailed question and answer statement on their website, which highlights the financial implications of this afternoon’s speech.
The statement says:”More than $500,000 will be spent by UF and other agencies to enhance security on campus and in the city of Gainesville for this event.
“This includes costs from the University of Florida Police Department, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol and other agencies providing first responders.”
Students have reacted with displays of strength and unity, with buildings throughout the campus displaying large banners against Spencer’s visit.
Many people have asked why the University of Florida is funding the security measures instead of Spencer himself.
A clause within the First Amendment specifies that as well as allowing a person access to a public venue, the government or any government bodies cannot add security fees based on the potential for protestors.
Therefore, the University is unable to charge Spencer for the additional costs of providing security for the controversial event.
As the University of Florida is publicly funded, the $500,000 will largely be taken from money provided by the taxpayers of the state of Florida.
Unlike other universities, speakers at the University of Florida do not have to be invited by a specific student group. Spencer simply rented a campus venue for $10,000,
Spencer simply rented a campus venue for $10,000, causing the university to either pay the $500,000 in security measures or theoretically violate Spencer’s right to free speech.
In response to the presence of the neo-nazi, students and staff of the University of Florida are contributing to the hashtag #TogetherUF.
Counter protests are expected on the University campus.