UPDATE Thursday, April 13, 3:30 p.m.:
The University has released its second message regarding diversity since yesterday, when alt-righter Richard Spencer announced he's speaking on campus next week.
"Auburn University is guided by a set of core values that serve as a foundation for excellence in instruction, discovery, and service to the state of Alabama and beyond," the message reads. "At the heart of Auburn’s land-grant mission is our unwavering commitment to fostering a campus that upholds the principles of inclusion and diversity across all aspects of the institution."
The message does not mention Spencer by name, but does address "offensive speech."
"When our interactions and perspectives conflict with one another, we all share the responsibility of safeguarding our campus and ensuring our values of respect, dignity, and safety are upheld," the letter reads. "It is during these times that we should model the type of inclusive environment we desire to have, even when others may not, and collectively respond to offensive speech with dialogue and behavior that is inclusive, respectful, and espouses the Auburn Creed."
The message was signed by Provost Timothy Boosinger and Associate Provost and Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity Taffye Clayton.
Read the full message here.
No, the University did not invite alt-right leader Richard Spencer to speak on campus, but they are letting him come.
Spencer, famous for being punched at an anti-Trump protest in January, plans to speak on Auburn's campus later this month, Spencer has confirmed on his Twitter.
Spencer will speak on Tuesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. in the Foy Hall Auditorium. Vice president for Student Affairs Bobby Woodard confirmed that the auditorium has been booked for Spencer to speak.
He has been criticized for his alt-right views, which are a combination of racism, white
Spencer 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.
The University has issued a statement condemning his views but confirming that they will allow him to speak on campus.
"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."
The Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center, known for its civil rights litigation and advocacy against white supremacy, also criticized Spencer but supported the University's decision to let him come.
"This is evidence of the alt-right's concerted effort to recruit college students into white nationalism," said Lecia Brooks, outreach director for the SPLC. "We of course support the First Amendment. He has a right to speak. Anyone has a right to speak. Hate speech is free speech."
The University has received a lot of backlash on Twitter for allowing him to come.
Dr. Bobby Woodard: Uninvite Richard Spencer from Speaking at Auburn University - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/5E08tQKsPy via @Change— Kayla (@xkStein) April 12, 2017
.@AuburnU As an alum, I'm apalled re: Richard Spencer speaking on campus. Do not expect $ from me or my wife ever again if this happens.— Ryan Little (@RyanIsLittle) April 12, 2017
@Trogdoryn @AuburnU Richard Spencer promotes ethnic cleansing, white supremacy, and other forms of targeted hate speech. Not a matter of "agree to disagree"— Olivia Rose (@oreidreads) April 12, 2017
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