Ohio State denies white supremacist’s request to speak on campus

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Ohio State denies white supremacist’s request to speak on campus

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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. A lawsuit has been filed against Michigan State University after it denied a request to rent space on campus for Spencer to speak in September. Georgia State University student Cameron Padgett, who tried to rent the room, sued Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, alleging the university is violating Spencer’s free speech. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Ohio State University has denied a prominent white supremacist’s request to speak on campus.

Richard Spencer, president of the white supremacist think tank the National Policy Institute, will not be allowed to speak on campus this fall,

Spencer is also known as having been one of the organizers of August’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville that descended into violence.

"The university denied a request from the National Policy Institute to rent space on campus in the coming weeks after determining that it is not possible to accommodate this request without substantial risk to public safety," OSU spokesman Ben Johnson said via email.

Johnson said the university would not provide further comment as of Thursday.

Spencer was notified Friday that his request had been denied by OSU and the school has since released a copy of the request along with the rejection.

Gregory Ritter requested space for Spencer to speak on campus any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between Oct. 12 and Oct. 26. Ritter wrote that he thought the event would attract 200 to 300 people as well as hecklers and protesters from the group "Antifa."

"Due to the nature of the event, we will need a lot of security. Similar events have drawn dozens of anarchist "antifa" protesters. Security will have to make sure attendees can enter and leave the event safely. They may also have to evict protesters from inside the event," Ritter wrote.

Ohio State responded to the request Friday, rejecting it based on the risk to public safety and "after thoroughly assessing space options and resources and after consulting with law enforcement officials," according to the denial message.

Spencer has been denied requests for space to speak at Penn State University, the University of Florida and at Michigan State University.

After Michigan State denied Spencer’s speaking request, his event organizer filed a lawsuit against the school in United States District Court.

“Michigan State University decided to deny the National Policy Institute’s request to rent space on campus to accommodate a speaker after consultation with law enforcement officials. The decision was made due to significant concerns about public safety in the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville,” MSU spokesman Kent Cassella said in a statement published by Inside Higher Ed.

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