Richard Spencer's coming to our university next Thursday. You know, the guy who famously said "Hail Trump, hail victory" and threw the Nazi salutes upon Trump winning the election? Yeah, this flying dickweed decided to shut down a quarter of campus with his antics next week. Not only can the university not bar him from campus (because it's a public university), they also can't charge him for the increased police presence needed to protect the people he plans to degrade and break up conflicts his followers are likely to incite.
Now, I do understand why these things are allowed from a legal perspective: you shouldn't be priced out of having a controversial opinion no matter how odious it is. Some things we now regard as basic human rights (e.g. Civil Rights for black people, which people of Spencer's ilk are still pissy about) were once odious opinions that may have taken decades longer to get traction had the people espousing them been bankrupted by the obligation to prevent violence against their supporters or on their behalf. (See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler%… for more info.) I also understand that public universities are supposed to be marketplaces of ideas, and as public spaces, are meant to be free speech zones where police may only intervene if the speaker makes a direct and credible threat of violence on specific, named or unambiguously inferred human targets. Now, I think the US should strive for some middle ground between our current laws, which aren't holistic enough to address harassment of people who tend to receive many of the same attacks from a large number of people with little or no history, and the European-style hate-speech laws where sometimes the punishment for nasty words said in the heat of the moment seems a bit too severe. Nonetheless, for the most part I understand my university's responses within the confines of our legal system.
I understand except for one thing, and all the questions this one thing spawned: how was Spencer reserve the Performing Arts Center for 2 hours?
Things that make this development suspicious:
The campus is public, but the buildings are not, hence the $10,000 fee to rent the Performing Arts Center. Which Spencer paid.
No student, faculty, staff, or admin organization invited him, if the President is to be believed. So who took the money?
For the record, I don't believe the university is profiting off of Dick Shitstain. However questionable some aspects of this development, if the university is paying $500,000 on security and Spencer only paid $10,000 to rent the Performing Arts Center, there's no way the school is profiting. Supposedly he originally planned to come last month, but the university managed to hold him off a few weeks because, after Charlottesville, the expected security needs changed and they weren't able to accommodate until this month. So the confusing bullets don't necessarily count for or against the university. In fact, I just thought of this, it might've been the school's clever way of simultaneously extracting a little reimbursement and shoving him in a dark corner of campus half a mile from the nearest classroom where students rarely go during regular business hours. If they hadn't done it, he may well have set up outside one of the libraries, free of charge and in a position to intercept a lot more foot traffic. If that's their strategy, I only wish the admins were as considerate of us students when in came to bargaining for healthcare and fee relief.
Anyway, the President himself advised people not to attend or protest, to as much as possible deprive Spenser of any attention (hence media coverage) whatsoever. I had thought briefly about protesting, but I don't feel like dignifying him with even that much so close to when I should be finishing my first publication.