University of Florida: White nationalists are not permanently barred

FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, Richard Spencer, who leads a movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism, speaks at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas. The Montana-based National Policy Institute, run by Spencer, who popularized the term “alternative right,” is among groups of the white nationalist movement with tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida says it is not permanently barring a group headed by white nationalist Richard Spencer from speaking at its campus.

The top attorney for UF made the statement in a letter she sent Friday to a Gainesville attorney representing the National Policy Institute and Spencer. Amy Haas said the university will try to accommodate Spencer if he makes a new formal request for a speaking date.

The university last month denied the group’s request to hold an event on Sept. 12, citing recent violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. UF President W. Kent Fuchs said the First Amendment doesn’t require risking imminent violence to students.

Attorney Gary Edinger this week asked the university to reconsider its decision in order to avoid a federal lawsuit.

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