Both ultra-conservative and progressive speakers continue to speak at universities across the country. Students at the University of Berkley protested conservative radio host Ann Coulter last spring. Now, students working in tandem with a Gainesville brewer have come up with a popular way to undermine white nationalist Richard Spencer.
The Southern Poverty Law Center designated Spencer’s organization, The National Policy Institute (NPI), a hate group. Spencer is an advocate of creating a white ethnostate through “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” according to The Miami Herald. The law group’s site wrote that the alt-right group:
‘Advocates for an Aryan homeland for the supposedly dispossessed white race and calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to halt the “deconstruction” of European culture. But even some of the Europeans he lionizes have rejected him; in October 2014, his attempt to hold an NPI conference in Budapest, Hungary, resulted in his arrest and expulsion.
The Southern Poverty Law Center then quoted Spencer:
‘Martin Luther King Jr., a fraud and degenerate in his life, has become the symbol and cynosure of White Dispossession and the deconstruction of Occidental civilization. We must overcome!’
University of Florida students wanted to keep people from attending Spencer’s speech. They came up with a brilliant solution. They would work with Alligator Brewing in Gainesville to hollow out the speaker’s auditorium. The popular site offered students a free draft beer in exchange for two tickets to Spencer’s speech.
According to the Miami Herald, a Facebook message read:
‘We unfortunately can’t stop him from bringing his hate to Gainesville. But we can empty the room so his disgusting message goes unheard.’
Unfortunately, Spencer got wind of the plan. He saw the post on Facebook, and as a result, he commented he had a counter-attack to the free-beer plan:
‘We’re going to have a system in place to combat that.’
The alt-right leader decided to give away 800 tickets to the October 19 speech. Spencer’s volunteers will hand out those tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. The original contract between the university and the hate group said that the university would distribute the tickets.
However, a University of Florida spokesperson, Janine Sikes, told the Miami Herald that NPI would be handing out the tickets instead.
A Georgia graduate student who has organized some of Spencer’s events, Cameron Padgett told the Miami Herald this about ticket distribution:
‘(It was to) avoid the sabotage that was planned by people. It is their event and the tickets are theirs to distribute. There is no violation of policy.’
The University of Florida President Kent Fuchs and a number of law enforcement agencies urged students to refrain from going to Spencer’s speech. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida echoed that decision. They have a two-fold goal: keep the students safe and deny Spencer an audience.
Spencer is on an unofficial campus tour, and UF is his first stop. Neither the school nor the students invited the hate group leader. After he rented a location on the campus, the university did not want Spencer to speak. UF was concerned after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville produced a night of violence, and a homegrown terrorist ran down a peaceful protester and killed her. They gave in when the alt-right speaker threatened to sue the university.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Tasos Katopodis.
H/T: The Miami Herald.