As Protestors Rally at University of Florida, Penn State Hopes to Steer Clear - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

As Protestors Rally at University of Florida, Penn State Hopes to Steer Clear

Email


by

As protesters circled the University of Florida auditorium where White nationalist Richard Spencer spoke Thursday, Penn State decided to avoid this scenario altogether.

Richard Spencer

After Penn State denied a request to host Spencer, Cameron Padgett, a Georgia university student organizing Spencer’s speaking tour, filed a federal lawsuit against the university on Thursday. The same day, the University of Florida spent over $600,000 on security to prevent violence in midst of the rallies surrounding the venue of Spencer’s speech.

“Not in our town! Not in our state! We don’t want your Nazi hate!” the protestors chanted outside the UF Phillips Center on Thursday. Hundreds of police officers stood guard, according to an Associated Press report. Meanwhile, officials at Penn State took preventive measures by refusing to rent space to Spencer.

According to the Associated Press, Jordan Rushie, Padgett’s lawyer, argued that a public university’s refusal based on the content of Spencer’s speech is illegal. The AP report states that Penn State’s administration declined to comment on this lawsuit and referred to an August statement from Penn State President Eric Barron.

“Penn State is an institution of higher education, and fully supports the right of free speech and encourages its expression in thoughtful and respectful ways, even when we strongly disagree with the opinions expressed,” Barron said. “But the First Amendment does not require our university to risk imminent violence.”

The University of Florida had also initially rejected Spencer’s request in fear of experiencing the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va., last August that resulted in the death of a counter-protestor Heather Heyer. The university eventually gave in following threats of legal action.

RELATED ARTICLES >>
Amherst College to Use Mellon Grant to Develop Diverse Faculty As a recipient of a prestigious $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Amherst College will develop an initiative to identify and prepare students from underrepresented minority groups to become faculty in the humanities. The grant i...
State of the Union Address Omitted Key Concerns in Education, Experts Note President Donald Trump President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union address since taking office, calling the current era “our new American moment.” But he missed an opportunity for substantive conversation on the growing conce...
Del Pilar Works to Give Underrepresented Students Voice in Higher Ed As the vice president of higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust, Dr. Wil Del Pilar brings to the job years of experience in research and policy. Wil Del Pilar He also brings his own experience as a former student of color....
Report: Stark Gender, Racial Gaps Persist in Engineering, Computer Science Very few female and minority students pursue engineering and computer science degrees at Texas universities, according to an eye-opening Society of Women Engineers (SWE) report that analyzed the state’s community-college transfer students. In anal...
Semantic Tags: