August 18, 2017 at 10:56 pm #48831
Something for those in North Central Florida to be aware of.
UF prepares for white nationalist leader
University, city prepares for what they’re worried could be tense event
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida is coordinating with local and state law enforcement officials in anticipation of the potential appearance in Gainesville of a white nationalist leader affiliated with this weekend’s deadly confrontation in Charlottesville, Va.
UF President Kent Fuchs sent an email to staff this weekend, alerting them that National Policy Institute President Richard Spencer, who made an appearance at the Charlottesville event, could speak at the university next month.
Spencer is a leader in the “alt-right” movement, blamed for a deadly outburst following a “Unite the Right” rally Saturday in Charlottesville that left one person dead after a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been in contact with University of Florida officials regarding Spencer’s potential visit.
“Governor Scott has spoken with University of Florida President Kent Fuchs and Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell to offer any support from the state, if needed. Regardless of how the university decides to move forward, Florida has zero tolerance for violence of any kind. Safety is always the governor’s foremost concern,” John Tupps, Scott’s communications director, said in an email Monday when asked about the Gainesville situation.
Fuchs said in this weekend’s email to staff members that Spencer could make a Sept. 12 appearance.
“For many in our community, including myself, this speaker’s presence would be deeply disturbing. What we’ve watched happen in Charlottesville, Va. in the last 24 hours, is deplorable,” Fuchs said in the Saturday message. “I again denounce all statements and symbols of hate. The University of Florida is a community of learners, educators and scholars. We encourage open and honest dialogue, and we strive to build an inclusive environment where hate is not welcome.”
But, Fuchs added, “While this speaker’s views do not align with our values as an institution, we must follow the law, upholding the First Amendment not to discriminate based on content and provide access to a public space.”
University officials met Monday with the Gainesville Police Department, campus police and other law enforcement in preparation for Spencer’s potential appearance.
But University of Florida spokeswoman Janine Sikes stressed that the event has not been finalized.
“This is a tentative event at this point,” Sikes told The News Service of Florida. “Nothing has been signed. This is not a go yet.”
Like other speakers, Spencer would have to pay for the rental of the space as well as security costs, which had not been determined as of Monday, according to Sikes.
In Saturday’s missive, Fuchs cautioned against a volatile reaction to Spencer, a divisive figure who heads the National Policy Institute, a group dedicated to “the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world,” according to its website.
“There is free speech, and I don’t see how you can stop him from coming. So I think we have to be prepared. People who disagree with him should show up peacefully and counter protest,” said Debbie Scheuer, a Gainesville resident.
The university’s ability to restrict controversial figures like Spencer from appearing on campus is limited, even in the aftermath of the situation in Charlottesville, according to First Amendment lawyers.
“One could understand how he (Fuchs) would prefer not to see a repeat of that in Gainesville and prefer to see that they not come. But if they have opened the university’s space for the public to use for meetings or speakers, then he literally can’t say no simply because he disagrees with someone who asks to use the space,” Tom Julin, an attorney who specializes in First Amendment law, told The News Service of Florida. “Simply because there has been an incident of violence, that doesn’t mean that speakers affiliated with that violence lose their right to speak. That’s the last thing you want to do.”
Julin’s views reflected those of multiple First Amendment lawyers interviewed Monday.
Because UF officials have made the space available to others, they aren’t able to put it off-limits to more controversial speakers, said Frank LoMonte, director of the University of Florida Brechner Center, a think tank focused on media-related issues.
“Once you hold the availability of government property for speech, you can’t pick and choose the speakers you like,” LoMonte said in a telephone interview Monday.
If UF officials wanted to blackball Spencer, they’d also have to shut down the venue for other speakers, according to the experts.
“It’s very easy to say these are white supremacists, and we should stop them from speaking. But the First Amendment protects the most unpopular viewpoints that are being expressed. So you have to look at all the alternatives that are available … before you can, consistent with the First Amendment, stop that viewpoint from being expressed,” Julin said. “That’s the last thing you want to do.”
Though Spencer has the right to free speech, some student said they’re worried about the possible event.
“It’s not a matter of free speech anymore. It’s a matter of safety,” said Joy Losse, a UF student. “Most everyone I’ve heard is against having him come to the campus.”
Nikolette Lipsey, another UF student, shared similar safety concerns.
“(There’s) a lot of dangerous, threatening and disgusting things being said. I’m worried for the safety of students. I’m worried for the safety of faculty,” Lipsey said. “I just don’t think it’s safe to have this event here.”
In the meantime, state, local and federal law enforcement officials are preparing for the potential event, especially in light of the developments in Virginia.
“GPD is aware of a possible appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer at UF on September 12th. We are also aware of information online through multiple forums and blogs surrounding the event,” the Gainesville Police Department said in a Facebook post. “We will continue to closely monitor the planning of this event and any peripheral protests/counter protests that are expected to arise if Mr. Spencer does appear.”
The Gainesville police post acknowledged that, although the event is scheduled to take place on the UF campus, “it would be foolish to think that any protests/counter protests would not occur in our city limits.”
Students and Gainesville residents told News4Jax on Monday that protests are being organized behind the scenes, and their worried about what could happen.
“I think it’s horrible and I think it’s a very dangerous situation,” said Billy Huff, a Gainesville resident. “We saw what happened in Virginia.”
Gainesville prepares for white nationalist rally
University of Florida denied event for next month
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Officials and police in Gainesville said they are preparing for a white nationalist protest next month, even though the University of Florida denied event space for a planned gathering there.
The city commission voted on Thursday to give Mayor Lauren Poe authority to sign an emergency declaration should the Sept. 12 event take place.
University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs on Wednesday said the school had denied a request for event space from white nationalist Richard Spencer’s group, National Policy Institute. He cited concerns of violence days after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one dead.
The group is planning to file a legal challenge.
Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones said the department is also making plans should the event go on.
September 12, 2017 is a Tuesday and seems like a strange day for it, but we’ll see what happens.October 16, 2017 at 8:39 pm #52037
Well after a delay it will be interesting to see what happens.
Oct. 16 (UPI) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency ahead of a planned appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer at University of Florida.
Scott made the designation for Alachua County, where the school is located, upon request by Sheriff Sadie Darnell.
Spencer, designated a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center and head of the white nationalist think tank National Policy Institute, was scheduled to speak Thursday in Gainesville.
“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, however, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority,” Scott said in a statement. “I have been in constant contact with Sheriff Darnell who has requested this executive order to ensure that county and local law enforcement have every needed resource. This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe.”
In August, UF rejected a request by Spencer to rent space on its grounds to host an event in September, citing possible violence.
“I find the racist rhetoric of Richard Spencer and white nationalism repugnant and counter to everything the university and this nation stands for,” UF President Kent Fuchs said at the time.
On October 16, 2017, in News Releases, by Staff
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Following a request from Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell, Governor Rick Scott today signed Executive Order 17-264 to assist local law enforcement’s response to rallies planned on the University of Florida campus this Thursday. EO 17-264 activates Florida’s Mutual Aid Plan which allows the state and Sheriff Darnell to quickly coordinate resources from other state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies. See the Executive Order HERE.
Governor Scott remains in constant communication with state and local law enforcement and University leadership to ensure that every request to the state is quickly granted to keep the public safe.
Governor Rick Scott said, “We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, however, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority. I have been in constant contact with Sheriff Darnell who has requested this Executive Order to ensure that county and local law enforcement have every needed resource. This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe.”October 16, 2017 at 11:31 pm #52050
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in Alachua County, three days ahead of a scheduled speech at the University of Florida campus by the white nationalist Richard Spencer.
Scott has issued such declarations ahead of hurricanes and after tragedies, but this is thought to be the first time he has taken such an action ahead of a planned event.
Spencer’s advocacy of a “white ethno-state” has mobilized his alt-right supporters and his many detractors who call him a racist. At past speeches, those camps have sparred, sometimes devolving into street brawls and arrests — most notably in Charlottesville, Va.
As Gainesville braces for Spencer’s arrival, Scott heeded a request for assistance from Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell.
“We don’t know what to expect, and we don’t know what kind of crowd numbers to expect,” Darnell told the Times/Herald. “We all want this to be a non-event. We all want it to go very peacefully. But there is the potential for violence and for widespread property damage.”
In a seven-page executive order, Scott declared: “I find that the threat of a potential emergency is imminent.” He activated the same emergency powers he employed as Hurricane Irma took aim at the state last month.
The governor’s executive order, Number 17-264, gives state agencies the power to suspend rules and regulations, including for purchasing, travel and personnel actions. Scott also activated his authority as governor to spend surplus money as he deems necessary.
Sheriff Darnell said the order mainly makes resources available much faster than normal. She praised Scott for his cooperation. She said Scott’s order includes power to impose curfews but that she did not anticipate that would be necessary.
“As long as people are peacefully assembling, they‘re not going to have any problems anywhere in Alachua County,” Darnell said.
UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said Scott’s action will make it easier for the state-funded university to seek reimbursement for some security costs. And, she said, it will eliminate red tape when agencies from different jurisdictions need to work together quickly.
Scott named Wes Maul, the recently-promoted interim state emergency management director, as state coordinating officer “for the duration of this emergency.” The governor’s order designates the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as the lead agency for crisis management. The FDLE commissioner, Rick Swearingen, reports directly to Scott and the three elected Cabinet members.
Scott’s move comes two months after a weekend of violence in Charlottesville, where Spencer led a “Unite the Right” rally, marked by brawls between white supremacists and protesters. One woman was killed when a man drove into a crowd of protesters.
Spencer called the declaration “major overkill.”
“It’s flattering, I guess. I am in the same genre as hurricanes and invading armies,” Spencer said, laughing, in a phone interview. But he said the governor’s move gives him pause. Amid violence in Charlottesville, Virginia’s governor declared a state of emergency before speakers at Spencer’s rally were able to address the crowd.
“That state of emergency order was used as a pretext to stifle free speech, and I do worry that this might be the same gambit,” Spencer said.
In August, hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists descended on the University of Virginia campus, chanting slogans like, “Jew will not replace us,” before clashing with protesters. The march appeared to catch officials by surprise, and students criticized the school and police for what they called a lackluster response.
The next day, attendees of Spencer’s rally filled a city park, many toting weapons. Protesters came wielding sticks and shields. Shouting matches and skirmishes broke into bigger brawls, while police appeared to stand by.
At the request of Virginia State Police, Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, authorizing heavier law enforcement actions “to restore public safety and order.” Officers began breaking up the crowds.
In his declaration, Gov. McAuliffe said that, despite weeks of planning to allow the rally to proceed safely, and despite the presence of law enforcement, the city needed more help.
Both Spencer and his opponents have criticized police in Virginia for allowing tensions to erupt into open violence.
At UF, police have been preparing for months, with an estimated $500,000-plus in security costs. President Kent Fuchs has urged students not to attend Spencer’s talk, but to “speak up for your values and the values of our university.”
Meanwhile, students and activists plan to protest. Speakers at a rally on Monday called Spencer, 39, “a white nationalist menace,” according to a video posted on Facebook, and urged everyone listening to protest his Thursday afternoon appearance at the Phillips Center. They called on UF to cancel his event, at which he plans to speak about white identity. Spencer has said he does not believe in racial equality.
“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion,” Gov. Scott said in a statement Monday. “However, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority.”
Rep. Ted Yoho’s message for Gainesville: Stay away from white nationalist speech
Also warns of violence from “Antifa”
Congressman Ted Yoho, a Republican who represents the Gainesville area, issued a long statement Monday that called on people to boycott Richard Spencer’s talk at the University of Florida. At the same time he criticized “Antifa” counter protesters for “advocating violence and chaos.”
His statement in full:
Richard Spencer, president of a hate group misleadingly named the National Policy Institute, is coming to Gainesville, FL to speak about his support of ethnic nationalism, racial division and white supremacy on October 19, 2017. Antifa, a so-called “anti-fascist” group comprised of radical Marxists and anarchists, is calling on its supporters to come and protest Richard Spencer, advocating violence and chaos in the process.
In our constitutional republic, both sides have a right-and what I feel is a privilege-to espouse their views as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. The First Amendment gives individuals the right of free speech, peaceful assembly and protest to promote one’s views. People must be serious about exercising these rights respectfully. You cannot have freedom without responsibility.
Hate groups and groups that promote violence and anarchy have no place in our society. They simply have a self-serving agenda and feed off mob-like participation and divisiveness.
When Richard Spencer comes to Gainesville, I want to ask that all people of differing viewpoints take responsibility for themselves and the groups they have invited to attend the event. It is estimated that this event will cost the University of Florida hundreds of thousands of dollars and Alachua County will have to mobilize hundreds of law enforcement officers, EMT’s, firefighters and paramedics at a cost not yet determined but paid for by the taxpayers of the county.
While these groups exercise their right of free speech and to peaceably assemble, I hope they will have respect for each other’s rights to express their own points of view, and that all will agree to disagree peacefully. Let’s hope they keep in mind the many first responders that are taking time away from their families and at great cost to Alachua County taxpayers for the protection of all parties. Let’s hope these groups take responsibility for their members and that there is no violent behavior. However, if people do engage in violence, I will press state and federal prosecutors to bring charges against malefactors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
As for me, I refuse to be anywhere near this event because Richard Spencer and Antifa’s viewpoints are both morally repugnant. I choose not to offer either of them an audience. Please join me.October 17, 2017 at 10:54 am #52059xsquidgatorParticipant
I spent a number of good years at UF, and enjoyed living in Gainesville aka Moscow on Hog Creek decades ago. It used to be a fun and quirky place. Now though it’s even more full of little communists and useful idiots – proof that being book smart doesn’t confer intelligence or worthiness. The comments to the effect of “I support free speech but hate speech/safety” say it all. The hell with that place. I confess to a small guilty pleasure of explaining to the UF development people (alumni fundraisers) why my charitable donations are going elsewhere when they call.
And in the vein of “intel”, I’m glad to know of this event so as to not accidentally get caught up in the shitstorm when matter and anti-matter are screaming at each other on the sidewalk there.
CTT 10-2014, CTT 1504, RnG/CQB/FoF October 2016, 2017 Georgia CTT/DA, DCH 2018.October 17, 2017 at 11:28 am #52061
Like most College towns it’s a concentrated cesspool of Socialists of many beliefs.
And in the vein of “intel”, I’m glad to know of this event so as to not accidentally get caught up in the shitstorm when matter and anti-matter are screaming at each other on the sidewalk there.
This is the main point of this information for our Florida members.
Gainesville is not in my AO, but is certainly within my AI (area of interest).
These Events seem to be a testing of the various Socialist areas.
I suspect; but can not prove, these Antifa and Supremacist theme groups are being manipulated by the same upper echelon group of which Soros is the up front moneyman though not the real power broker.
So for us in Florida this will be a interesting event to observe from afar.October 19, 2017 at 1:15 pm #52111
Extreme LEO presence, looking to be a quiet event. Of course no guarantees, but we’ll see.October 19, 2017 at 2:03 pm #52116
Obviously quiet is a relative thing when the Socialists are involved.October 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm #52150HiDesertRatParticipant
“I suspect; but can not prove, these Antifa and Supremacist theme groups are being manipulated by the same upper echelon group of which Soros is the up front moneyman though not the real power broker.”
soros just donated 18 BILLION to open society foundations to further his mischief everywhere. someone needs to donate a drone for him.
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