University of Florida braces for white nationalist event

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WESH) – Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency ahead of white nationalist Richard Spencer’s scheduled speech at the University of Florida.

Many people at UF said they are disgusted about the event and are expected to protest. Students are wondering if the event will turn violent.

Police officers are already present on campus to make sure things stay peaceful.

At Tall Paul’s Brewhouse near campus, Alligator Brewing is offering free beer to anyone who brings an unused ticket to Spencer’s event.

“I think it’s important for us to show other towns and other people that there is a positive way to approach this, and there is some resistance happening,” said Aaron Kahn with Alligator Brewing.

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency.

Spencer’s group released a response Tuesday, saying, “We hope that Gov. Scott has taken this step in order to maintain order and safety and to see that the First Amendment is upheld.”

Classes will be held as usual on campus, but university president Kent Fuchs released a video to ease the minds of UF students.

“Our campuses are places where people from all races, origins and religions are welcome and are treated with love,” says Fuchs.

Fuchs said he was surprised to find out that the university is required by law to allow Spencer to speak on campus.

A Q&A published on the UF website explains that as a state entity, the university must allow the free expression of speech in public forums.

The university president urges everyone to avoid the event, but asks “that you do not let Mr. Spencer’s message of hate and racism go unchallenged.”

A series of events have been planned by leaders on campus to help bring students together in the days leading up to Spencer’s event.

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