Auburn nixes Richard Spencer; alt-right figure says he’ll speak
Auburn University said Friday it has canceled a speaking engagement next week featuring “alt-right” figure Richard Spencer after his planned appearance spurred security concerns across campus.
“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,” the university said in a brief statement Friday.
Mr. Spencer, a white nationalist accused of espousing neo-Nazism, insisted that he will speak at Auburn notwithstanding the university’s decision to cancel next week’s event.
“They think they have shut this down, but they haven’t,” Mr. Spencer told The Plainsman student publication. “Auburn University is naive and has totally misunderstood who I am if they think that I am going to politely back out of this. I will be there 100 percent.”
Auburn encountered an outcry of criticism after Mr. Spencer announced on Wednesday that he’d be speaking at the Alabama college on April 18, and the university initially distanced itself from the scheduled event.
“We are a public university and our meeting space is for rent. Auburn supports the constitutional right to free speech, so we don’t make decisions on who can rent based on content. Spencer is paying $700 for the space, plus all costs for security (Auburn Police Division),” Auburn University spokesman Mike Clardy said Wednesday in a email to AL.com.