Ohio State announced Friday that white supremacist Richard Spencer’s request to use campus space for a speaking engagement Nov. 15 has been denied without possibility of an alternative to the event, which the university mentioned in a letter to Spencer’s attorney last week.
This is the third time since September that Ohio State has denied a request from Spencer.
“The university values freedom of speech,” the latest letter to Spencer’s lawyer stated. “Nonetheless the university has determined that it is not presently able to accommodate Mr. Padgett’s request… due to substantial disruption to the work and discipline of the University.”
In the letter to Cameron Padgett, a Georgia State University student who requested the event, the university cited evaluating Spencer’s Thursday speech at the University of Florida. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida declared a state of emergency for the event, and it cost $500,000 for the university to provide security and safety detail, according to Time Magazine.
This decision has been long-awaited by the university community, as the white supremacist has threatened to take legal action for nearly a month if Ohio State did not comply with his request.
Spencer first requested campus space in September for an Oct. 12 or 24 event, specifically asking for a reservation at the Blackwell Inn or Ohio State Alumni House. However, the university denied his request citing it would result in a “substantial risk to public safety.”
The second denied request seeked to reserve the Ohio Union Performance Hall on Nov. 15. Ohio State released a letter to Spencer’s lawyer Oct. 13 denying the request, again citing safety concerns, but stated it was exploring “alternative” options.
Denying Spencer’s first few requests bordered the line of legality, First Amendment experts explained to The Lantern earlier this week. They said free speech protections prevent the discrimination of views, but allow the denial of a request if the scene is believed to be unsafe.