Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
U.S. | By Jeffery Vega

Clashes Erupt As White Nationalist Richard Spencer Speaks At Auburn

Clashes Erupt As White Nationalist Richard Spencer Speaks At Auburn

Alt-right leader Richard Spencer spoke at Auburn University Tuesday night after a federal judge cleared the way for the controversial speaker, sparking protest and violence outside the event.

Only a few chairs were empty in the more than 400-seat room as Spencer and other speakers railed against ethnicity and racial diversity, liberals, the media and more.

Elsewhere on campus, students told CNN they witnessed a fistfight between a Spencer supporter and a protester that ended with police arresting them. "I think we were certainly successful in doing that", Capt. Lorenza Dorsey with the Auburn Police Division said on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins found in favor of the plaintiff and enjoined Auburn from preventing the speech on the basis of content.

Auburn University itself was reportedly surprised by Spencer's arrival.

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As Spencer's profile grew, so did criticism of his movement; he became a target of antifa groups across the country, members of which have sucker-punched Spencer at least twice as he gave interviews to news outlets. Local law enforcement say they are pleased with the "mostly peaceful" event.

Signs posted around Auburn's campus Tuesday cautioned students to stay inside in order to stay safe. For the sake of openness, I must admit that I am a proud alumnus of Auburn University and was one of the founders of its black-alumni association.

Controversy surrounding Spencer's appearance stretched back for a week before Tuesday's talk, though. However, when the tenets of free speech are overshadowed by threats to the safety of our students, faculty, and staff, we have a responsibility to protect our campus and the men and women who unite our academic community.

The putrid demon-seed spawn of Satan and Hitler that the rest of the word calls Richard Spencer has vowed to speak at Auburn University, even though the Alabama university canceled his speaking engagement, scheduled for Tuesday evening.

According to the April 18 complaint, the university had agreed to rent the auditorium at James E. Foy Hall to plaintiff Cameron Padgett "for the goal of providing a forum for Richard Spencer". Spencer claims to have coined the term.

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