Extra security in place ahead of white nationalist's speech at University of Florida

Some sending message of love, not hate ahead of speech

By Amy Viteri - Investigative Reporter

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Extra security was in place at the University of Florida on Tuesday as officials prepare for a speech that will be given Thursday by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

Some buildings on campus will be closed during the speech, and many at the university are spreading messages of love ahead of Spencer’s visit.

"I don't want to run into anybody with any hateful comments or things like that," Amber Smith, a student, said. "I'm worried about that probably most."

Smith, a Hollywood resident, said she's not going to class Thursday and is staying with friends off campus to be safe.

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in case it is needed.

Spencer reacted to Scott's move by taking to Twitter and posting that "Hurricane Ricardo is expected to hit Gainesville Thursday." 

"Speech that is inherently violent, that calls for violence, that calls for ethnic cleansing is not something that should be protected," Chad Chavira, a student, said.

Chavira is part of the group No Nazis at UF, which has signs posted throughout campus opposing the speech. 

He said Spencer's rhetoric is dangerous.

Spencer, the head of the National Policy Institute, was set to speak at a Unite the Right rally, which took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. That rally ended in violent protests and one woman was killed when a white supremacist drove into a crowd of protesters.

Spencer's event at UF comes after the university initially denied his request in September over security concerns.

"Their grounds on denying it was a safety issue," Chavira said. "And so I don't know where that safety issue went as far as we're concerned there's still the same safety issue." 

Smith also weighed in on the visit.

"Everybody has a right to say what they want to say. Doesn't mean that their viewpoint is correct," she said. 

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