ACLU speaks out on Spencer's visit to Gainesville

ACLU speaks out on Spencer's visit to Gainesville

The ACLU has taken a lot of heat for supporting Spencer's right to speak in Charlottesville.

White Nationalist leader Richard Spencer's visit to Gainesville is not a popular decision, but it's one the ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon supports.

"I know it's a difficult issue for many people because what he has to say is so hateful," Simon said.

University of Florida President Kent Fuchs first denied the group's request to speak here last month, but under threat of a lawsuit they agreed to rent out space.

Simon said he’s glad UF has changed its view from how to prevent Spencer from coming to figuring out how to best manage it.

He said the university has enough resources and security to make Spencer's visit as safe as possible.

"We need to do what the city of Charlottesville failed to do and that is to have a good law enforcement plan in place that will keep both sides separate,” Simon said. “The first amendment has got to work for everyone the first amendment does work for everyone regardless of their point of view."

UF said it expects to spend at least $500,000 on security. These costs include help from local police, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

UF said it will not cancel classes the day of the speech but asks faculty to be understanding with students on a case by case basis.

Spencer's appearance is scheduled for 10/19 at 2:30 PM at the Phillips Center.

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