Univ. of Florida tightening security, urging students not to attend Richard Spencer appearance

FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, Richard Spencer, who leads a movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism, speaks at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas. The Montana-based National Policy Institute, run by Spencer, who popularized the term “alternative right,” is among groups of the white nationalist movement with tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – Tomorrow, white supremacist Richard Spencer will make his first speaking appearance since the deadly rally in Charlottesville and students on the campus of the University of Florida are being urged not to attend.

Peaceful protests and teach-in’s are already taking place on campus.  One in particular from the group “No Nazis at UF.”

One of the organizers spoke to News Channel 8 anonymously, over fear for his safety.

“We plan to use our 1st Amendment rights to practice free speech and protest against this person who is abusing his right to free speech and practicing hate speech,” he said.

Meanwhile, campus officials are making sure security is tight. Barricades are placed outside of the Phillips Center for Performing Arts where Spencer will be speaking Thursday.

News Channel 8 has seen several hotel parking lots filled with FHP patrol cars. Extra security cameras have also been placed on top of buildings near the Phillips Center.

News Channel 8 asked students if they think this event could turn into a Charlottesville situation.

“I don’t think so. I was talking to our chairman and he was like, ‘I don’t think it will but we want to make sure we are covering all the bases of prevention,” said Cam Outlaw who is studying for a Master’s degree at UF.

The University of Florida is spending $500,000 for security to keep protests and rallies from turning violent.

The university has a strict list of what is and is not allowed inside the event. Things like backpacks and water bottles will be prohibited.

All vehicles must be removed from the parking lot in front of the Phillips Center as well as the adjacent parking garage by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday night.

Governor Rick Scott is also taking no chances by issuing a state of emergency.

FILE – In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, Richard Spencer, who leads a movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism, speaks at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas. The Montana-based National Policy Institute, run by Spencer, who popularized the term “alternative right,” is among groups of the white nationalist movement with tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

 

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