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A spirit that is not afraid

Citing safety concerns, University cancels Richard Spencer event

Spencer, famous for being punched at an anti-Trump protest in January, had planned to speak on Auburn's campus on Tuesday, April 18

The University has canceled a planned visit by white nationalist speaker Richard Spencer, citing student, staff and faculty safety concerns.

"In consultation with law enforcement, Auburn canceled the Richard Spencer event scheduled for Tuesday evening based on legitimate concerns and credible evidence that it will jeopardize the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors," a University spokesperson said in a statement.

Spencer, famous for being punched at an anti-Trump protest in January, had planned to speak on Auburn's campus on Tuesday, April 18.

Spencer paid $700 to rent Foy Hall Auditorium and also paid for police and security. Vice president for Student Affairs Bobby Woodard confirmed on Wednesday that the auditorium had been booked for Spencer to speak.

That booking has now been canceled because of an assessment by the Auburn Police Division.

"Based on an assessment of possible civil unrest and criminal activity during a requested event, it is the opinion of the Auburn Police Division that allowing Mr. Richard Spencer to proceed with his appearance at Foy Hall on April 22 would pose a real threat to public safety," police said. "We believe Auburn University’s decision to keep students and others safe is appropriate at this juncture."

Spencer has been criticized for his alt-right views, which are a combination of racism, white nationalism and populism. Spencer, who currently serves as president and director of The National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank, has called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction of European culture," according to The Atlantic.

He rose to prominence during the 2016 President Election campaign as an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump. A few weeks after the election, Spencer saluted 200 attendees at the annual gathering for his National Policy Institute.

“Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!" he said at the meeting. Attendees responded with cheers and Nazi salutes, according to The Atlantic article.

Spencer recently disavowed Trump over his decision to conduct a missile strike against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The University previously said Spencer should be afforded the freedom to speak on campus but criticized his views.

"We strongly deplore his views, which run counter to those of this institution," the statement said. "While his event isn’t affiliated with the university, Auburn supports the constitutional right to free speech. We encourage the campus community to respond to speech they find objectionable with their own views in civil discourse and to do so with respect and inclusion."

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