University estimates $600K for security for Richard Spencer’s speech
The University of Florida is estimating security for the planned Thursday speech by white nationalist leader Richard Spencer will cost the school about $600,000.
According to CBS News, more than 500 law enforcement officers have gone to the Gainesville campus ahead of Spencer’s speech, which is expected to spark large protests.
The school is readying itself for the possibility of violence.
“We are hoping that this is going to be a non-event. But we are prepared to respond and handle this,” Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said, according to CBS
“When you get human beings together on different opinions and then you add emotions to it, you’ve got the recipe for a lot to go wrong.”
Spencer’s group, the National Policy Institute, is reportedly paying $10,564 to rent space for the event, but government-sponsored organizations, such as public universities, are not allowed to charge for security.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) declared a state of emergency in the county ahead of Spencer’s event, saying his speeches in the past have “sparked protests and counter-protests resulting in episodes of violence, civil unrest and multiple arrests.”
“I find that the threat of a potential emergency is imminent,” Scott said in a seven-page executive order.
The president of the university said Thursday that Spencer has a “legal right” to speak on the school’s campus and say “horrific things” but that violence would not be tolerated.
The university had denied a previous request from Spencer to speak on its campus but agreed to let him go forward with this event after a local lawyer threatened to sue.
Spencer was among those who participated in the deadly August rally in Charlottesville, Va. He returned to site of the those protests earlier this month for another white nationalist gathering.