UF president: security cost for Spencer speech 'unfair'

AP News
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Posted: Oct 18, 2017 2:47 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A day before white nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida, its president affirmed his belief in free speech but said the security costs of holding such an event at a public university put an unfair burden on taxpayers.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, UF President W. Kent Fuchs said Spencer is "hijacking" public universities — which are compelled by the First Amendment to provide a speaking forum — and forcing taxpayers to pay the resulting security costs.

Fuchs estimates the school will spend $600,000 on security for Spencer's planned speech Thursday.

Following the August violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one anti-white nationalist demonstrator dead, he said high security costs are required to ensure a reasonable amount of safety.