The president of Pennsylvania State University on Tuesday announced that prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer “is not welcome to speak” on the college’s campus.
University president Eric J. Barron said in a statement that the college “evaluated a request” for Spencer to speak on campus in the fall and “determined that Mr. Spencer is not welcome.”
“The First Amendment does not require our University to risk imminent violence,” Barron said. “After critical assessment by campus police, in consultation with state and federal law enforcement officials, we have determined that Mr. Spencer is not welcome on our campus, as this event at this time presents a major security risk to students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus.”
Barron said he disagrees “profoundly with the content that has been presented publicly about this speaker’s views which are abhorrent and contradictory to our University’s values.”
“There is no place for hatred, bigotry or racism in our society and on our campuses,” he said. “It is the likelihood of disruption and violence, not the content, however odious, that drives our decision.”
Penn State director of news and media relations Lisa Powers told the Daily Collegian, the university’s student-operated newspaper, that the school received the request from “an individual who claims to be a student at Georgia State University, and an acolyte to Richard Spencer.”
“We’ve received no request from Spencer himself or any organization associated with him,” Powers told the Daily Collegian.
In response to violence that erupted on August 12 at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Texas A&M University canceled a September rally where Spencer was scheduled to speak.
The colleges are among a wide swath of corporations, universities and localities pushing back against white nationalist groups in the aftermath of the rally.