GAINESVILLE — Richard Spencer, the poster boy for the alt-right movement, is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida in Gainesville on September 12.
Spencer, the leader of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white supremacist organization that sponsored the racist protests in Charlottesville this past weekend, has openly expressed his bigotry in the past.
“Martin Luther King, Jr., a fraud and degenerate in his life, has become the symbol and cynosure of White Dispossession and the deconstruction of Occidental civilization. We must overcome!” Spencer wrote in a NPI column in January 2014.
“Immigration is a kind a proxy war—and maybe a last stand—for White Americans, who are undergoing a painful recognition that, unless dramatic action is taken, their grandchildren will live in a country that is alien and hostile,” he said in February 2014.
University of Florida regulations allow non-university organizations to reserve space on campus. In a statement released on August 12, President Kent Fuchs said “UF administration, staff and campus police are developing a security plan for the potential event and are working with colleagues across the country who have had similar events on their campus.
“For many in our community, including myself, this speaker’s presence would be deeply disturbing. What we’ve watched happen in Charlottesville, VA. in the last 24 hours, is deplorable. I again denounce all statements and symbols of hate.”
Despite his apparent opposition, Fuchs has not taken explicit steps to cancel the event, stating “it is not finalized and it is still under discussion.”
NPI, which considers itself an “independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States” has been branded a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Last weekend’s white supremacist march claimed the life of Heather D. Heyer, 32, who was run down by James Alex Fields, Jr. Fields drove his car into a group of counter protesters, killing Heyer and injuring 19 other people.
California Activist Mitch Emerson has organized a “No Nazis at UF” rally at UF on the day of Spencer’s speech at 6 p.m. Those interested can sign up on his Facebook page.
“Regarding tactics for the protest itself, there are many local organizations that will be coordinating to decide on tactics…” Emerson said. ”…I will defer to the local organizations, residents, and students as to how they want to organize the protest.”