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Richard Spencer won't come to U-M this semester

Jan 29, 2018

White supremacist Richard Spencer will not speak on the University of Michigan campus before the end of the traditional academic year on April 28, according to a statement released Friday.

University officials report that, in their latest communication, Spencer’s representatives suggested looking at later dates.

U-M President Mark Schlissel maintains Spencer’s ability to speak on campus is contingent on the provision of public safety.  

“President Mark Schlissel has consistently said the university would only rent a venue if the university’s Division of Public Safety and Security could assure a reasonably safe setting for such an event,” the statement reads. “That commitment remains in place.”

This announcement comes just days after Michigan State University’s January 18 announcement that Spencer will speak on the East Lansing campus March 5, the first day of MSU’s spring break.

MSU initially denied a request in August from Spencer’s representatives to rent space for him to speak due to security concerns – a request that came just days after violence broke out at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a car fatally struck one counter protester and injured 19 others. 

Following a lawsuit brought against MSU by Spencer's attorney Kyle Bristow, MSU will allow Spencer to rent an auditorium on March 5 while the university will foot the security and police bill. As part of the agreement, Spencer and his team will not hold any other events on MSU's campus. 

Richard Spencer is president of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think-tank promoting ideals of white nationalism and white identity. He famously coined the term “Alt-Right” in 2008, and a video of him shouting Nazi-inspired rhetoric while addressing more than 200 attendees at a National Policy Institute conference in Washington D.C. went viral in November of 2016.

Correction: This post originally stated that Spencer was filmed doing a Nazi salute, when in fact it was the audience members saluted while he spoke. It has been corrected.