As we enter the days post-Charlottesville, we have seen many people and places taking a stand against white supremacy, neo-nazis, and racism. Celebrities, brands, and universities have voiced their concerns on what has happened and how they are trying to put a stop to these terrifying groups. Recently, University of Florida has denied a white nationalist event that notorious white supremacist and neo-nazi, Richard Spencer, would appear and speak at.
The National Policy Institute, which is an alt-right organization Spencer runs, requested to rent out the university’s space for a “speaking event.” It has been said that no student groups or other groups with the university had sponsored the event. University president W. Kent Fuchs expressed his concerns in a message posted to Facebook.
“This decision was made after assessing potential risks with campus, community, state and federal law enforcement officials following violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., and continued calls online and in social media for similar violence in Gainesville such as those decreeing: “The Next Battlefield is in Florida,” Fuchs wrote.
He goes on to say that the racist remarks and actions of Richard Spencer are, “repugnant and counter to everything the university and this nation stands for.”
The decision stems from what happened in Charlottesville, with one protestor of white supremacy, Heather Heyes, killed from a vehicle that rammed into the group of counter-protesters during a white nationalist rally. Florida governor, Rick Scott, also talked with Fuchs and agreed that it’s best to cancel the event.
“No one should be doing anything that creates violence,” Scott said. “I’ve talked to them a few times, and I’ve also talked to the Gainesville police chief, Tony Jones, there, and said the same thing. My focus there is to make sure that whatever decision the University of Florida makes, we make sure there’s public safety.”
The University of Florida is not the only university to cancel a white nationalist event. Texas A&M University announced that a “White Lives Matter” event was canceled due to safety concerns. Spencer has yet to make any public remarks on the cancellations of these two events.
While there is a lot that needs to happen to put an end to white supremacy and neo-nazis, this is a step in the right direction. Many argue this is going against our first amendment rights, yet this kind of speech is absolutely vile and needs to be stopped. Any speech that is racist and puts the lives of minorities in danger should not be tolerated. It is up to many people, especially white people who still need to learn they benefit from these speeches, to help silence these neo-nazis. The University of Florida can hopefully serve as an example to other universities to stop these events from taking place ever again.