Ohio State University has denied a request to rent space for prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus, citing public safety concerns in the wake of Spencer's appearance at the University of Florida earlier this week.
“The university has deemed that it is not presently able to accommodate Mr. [Cameron] Padgett’s request to rent space at the university due to substantial risk to public safety, as well as material and substantial disruption to the work and discipline of the university,” a lawyer representing Ohio State said in a letter to an attorney representing Spencer’s associates and obtained by The Guardian.
Earlier Friday, a lawyer for Spencer said he would file a federal lawsuit against the university if it denied a request for Spencer to speak on campus.
WOSU reports that Ohio State senior vice president Christopher Culley told Michigan attorney Kyle Bristow last week that the university could not accommodate a request to rent space, but the lawyer held off suing while the school looked into "other alternatives."
Bristow told WOSU he is seeking an injunction to force the school to rent space for Spencer’s speech.
The move comes after Spencer’s speech on Thursday at the University of Florida was full of raucous protestors who at times drowned out Spencer’s words.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) declared a state of emergency earlier this week in Alachua County before the event and university officials estimate they spent more than $500,000 on security efforts for Spencer’s speech.
Three men were arrested and charged with attempted homicide following Spencer’s speech after they confronted and fired a gun towards protestors outside the event.