One man has been arrested as protests grow in Gainesville over a speech by a white nationalist.
One of the public faces of a resurgent white nationalist movement, Mr Spencer helped organize protests of the removal of a statute of confederate general Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia that spiraled into bloodshed when a auto plowed into counterprotesters.
White nationalist Richard Spencer gleefully compared himself to a hurricane, as the University of Florida prepares for a 2:30 pm speech Thursday by the fiery racist whose appearance is expected to spark widespread protests that officials fear could turn violent.
Chabad director Rabbi Berl Goldman said that dozens of Jewish students, parents and staff members had contacted him with worries regarding the event. "We don't want your Nazi hate!" According to the ADL, he has become "more openly anti-Semitic in recent years".
Spencer participated in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to deadly violence in August. While everyone from University President Kent Fuchs and Florida Governor Rick Scott have taken preemptive measures against any possible violence, the university has said that they can not do anything to stop the actual event, or prevent Spencer from controlling which media outlets cover the speech.
"I fully understand freedom of speech can not be burdened legally with the full cost of this, but on the other hand we're being burdened", said Fuchs, sitting in his office on campus in Gainesville. UF says $500,000 has been spent, by the university and other agencies, to enhance security on campus and in Gainesville for the event.
Richard Spencer said the emergency declaration was "flattering" but "most likely overkill".
His National Policy Institute describes itself as "dedicated to the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent in the United States and around the world". Fuchs said that they could not deny the request to speak in October instead due to first amendment issues.
Fuchs said he hopes the event will end up bringing the community closer together, and that it can be used to create a dialogue about race.