After reading “Neighboring SEC universities deny Richard Spencer visit requests,” I began questioning whether or not it is right for other schools to deny Spencer the opportunity to speak. My answer is absolutely. Freedom of Speech is a fundamental human right that we are fortunate enough to exercise in the United States. Despite any personal opposition to any of Richard Spencer’s views, I cannot deny that he has a right to say what he wants. However, is it truly wrong for universities to deny him a place to speak when doing so may endanger the students?
I was one of the students that debated Spencer in April during the “Q&A” part of his speech. He exercised his right to speak freely, and I did the same. However, since then Spencer has gained more recognition, the divide in our country has increased, and having such a controversial speech at a school is questionable.
Schools are supposed to be a place where students are not physically harmed. Richard Spencer himself was pepper sprayed twice during the Charlottesville riots because he could not stay peaceful. If he truly cared about freedom of speech and not attention and violence, he could easily speak at a venue that was not a university. On campus, it is the university’s responsibility to keep students as safe as possible. After seeing protests at events he has held in the past, it goes without question that having a Richard Spencer event at another SEC school would result in strong opposition, protests, and most likely violence.
Taylor Treloar is a junior in political science.