Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
A spirit that is not afraid

University agrees to pay $29K to dismiss Richard Spencer lawsuit

University lawyers agreed last week to pay out almost $29,000 in legal costs to dismiss the lawsuit brought last month over controversial white nationalist Richard Spencer's planned speech at Auburn.

The university agreed to pay court costs in a joint agreement filed on May 11 with the federal district that was hearing the case. The payout will cover the costs of the legal hearings, which went in favor of Spencer and the Georgia student who filed the suit, Cameron Padgett.

The legal costs, which will cover the costs of Padgett's attorney, will amount to nearly $30,000, according to a statement from the University. The University said they agreed to pay legal fees to "avoid more costly litigation." The judge agreed to dismiss the case in an order filed Friday.

The University attempted to prevent Spencer's visit to Auburn last month, canceling his planned speech in Foy Hall over safety concerns raised in a police risk assessment. They said there was a possibility of "civil unrest."

"In consultation with law enforcement, Auburn canceled the Richard Spencer event ... 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.

A day before Spencer's planned speech on April 18, Padgett, who booked Foy Hall for Spencer's speech, filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction forcing the University to let Spencer speak. His attorneys claimed that the University had violated Padgett and Spencer's First Amendment rights by preventing his speech.

Only a few hours before the event began last month, the federal judge who heard the case ruled in favor of Spencer's right to speak on campus. Now, Auburn has agreed to pay Padgett's legal fees after losing the case.

Padgett is not from Auburn and is not an Auburn student, but chose Auburn for the event and invited Spencer to speak. Spencer and his supporters paid $700 to rent Foy Auditorium and extra fees to pay for police security.

In the end, the judge said the University did not provide any supporting evidence in their case that Spencer advocated violence or that his visit would result in violence.

Spencer's visit did spark raucous protests and counter-protests, which brought both right-wing white nationalists and left-wing Antifa to Auburn's campus. Hundreds of students also demonstrated outside the event, along with another peaceful demonstration at a Unity Concert across campus at the Greenspace.

No students were arrested that night, but police did arrest three middle-aged protestors from Montogmery, Birmingham and Trussville who got into a scuffle outside of Foy Hall.

The University had not responded to requests for comment by the time of the publication of this article.

Chip Brownlee | Editor-in-chief

Chip Brownlee, senior in journalism and political science, is the editor-in-chief of The Auburn Plainsman.

Share and discuss “University agrees to pay $29K to dismiss Richard Spencer lawsuit” on social media.