White supremacist human dump truck Richard Spencer is moving forward with plans to speak at the University of Florida on Thursday, despite concerns that the event could turn violent.
Concerns surrounding Spencer’s event grew to such a level that Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency a week ahead of the planned event, in an attempt to free up local law-enforcement agencies so that they could collaborate with state agencies more easily. The National Guard was also activated to assist as needed.
As CNN notes, the event, which is scheduled for the afternoon at the campus’s Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, will be Spencer’s first visit to a school campus since he and his band of hate-mongers participated in the deadly Unite the Right Rally at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville back in August, resulting in the death of one person and leaving multiple others injured.
Reuters reports that hundreds of police are expected to be deployed at the University of Florida, and thousands are poised to protest the event.
According to BuzzFeed, the school says that no specific threat has been directed at the event, but that has done little to settle anyone’s nerves.
Of course, ever the asshole, Spencer seemed unconcerned for others’ safety and for the ruckus that his visit is causing, even making a joke on Twitter and referring to himself as a hurricane.
Spencer stood firm in his insistence that the event would go on, and added that if there was any violence, it would be because it was instigated by anti-fascists who are protesting the hateful messages of the white supremacists.
Because, you know, that’s exactly what happened in Charlottesville.
Of course, no one invited this human tragedy to the university—Spencer booked the venue himself. At the last minute the school attempted to block him, but it backed down after Spencer threatened the university with a free speech lawsuit.
“Although UF leadership has denounced Spencer’s white supremacist rhetoric, the university, as a state entity, must allow the free expression of all viewpoints,” the school said in a statement.
Reuters reports that the university had said that it would spend more than $500,000 on security, although it declined to provide details about tactics that would be used to ensure peace. Law enforcement providing assistance includes the University of Florida Police Department, the Gainesville Police Department, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Highway Patrol.
Classes at the university will continue as planned, except for those close to the performing arts center where the event will take place.
As BuzzFeed notes, Spencer is expected to speak alongside white supremacists Eli Mosley, who leads the hate group Identity Europa, and Mike Enoch, who hosts the “alt-right,” anti-Semitic podcast The Right Stuff. All three men are known to believe in “peaceful ethnic cleansing.”