Richard Spencer denied request to speak at Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The President of the National Policy Institute President will not speak at Penn State this fall. PSU President Eric Barron issued a letter this morning, citing Richard Spencer’s controversial views and more importantly, the possibility of violence, like the recent events in Charlottesville, VA, as reasons the request has been denied.
Here’s Barron’s letter in its entirety:
In light of the recent violence and tragedy in Charlottesville, Penn State has evaluated a request for Richard Spencer, who is president of the National Policy Institute, to speak on the University Park campus this fall.
I disagree profoundly with the content that has been presented publicly about this speaker’s views which are abhorrent and contradictory to our University’s values. There is no place for hatred, bigotry or racism in our society and on our campuses.
As stated last week, Penn State is an institution of higher education, and fully supports the right of free speech and encourages its expression in thoughtful and respectful ways, even when we strongly disagree with the opinions expressed. But the First Amendment does not require our University to risk imminent violence.
After critical assessment by campus police, in consultation with state and federal law enforcement officials, we have determined that Mr. Spencer is not welcome on our campus, as this event at this time presents a major security risk to students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus. It is the likelihood of disruption and violence, not the content, however odious, that drives our decision.
As we enter the new semester with a national climate of great uncertainty, Penn State continues to foster an inclusive climate for all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, genders and other differences. Our University strives to create an environment where everyone can teach, learn and live in an atmosphere of safety and mutual respect.
Eric J. Barron
Penn State President
The National Policy Institute is described as a white-supremacist think tank. Spencer himself says he is part of the alt-right, but rejects the label of white supremacist.