Citing past clashes and protests, Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in advance of a speech white nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to give at the University of Florida.
In his executive order, the Associated Press reports, Scott warned that the "threat of a potential emergency is imminent" in Gainesville, where UF is located.
Protesters with the group "No Nazis At UF " are demanding that university officials change the banned items list for white nationalist Richard Spencer's event Thursday. The group fought briefly with counterprotesters, and violence worsened the following day when a man drove a auto into a crowd of people protesting a planned "Unite the Right" rally, killing a woman and injuring others. "We appreciate Gov. Scott's support and commitment to UF's campus safety", the university said in a statement released late Monday afternoon.
Scott's order directs the activation of the Florida National Guard, if necessary, and makes the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the lead agency in charge of "crisis management".
"I don't think so". After they threatened to sue, school officials said they would try to accommodate Spencer if he renewed his request for a different date.More news: Alexa-Equipped Garmin Speak Is Like an Echo Dot for Your Car
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The university will recoup $10,564 from Spencer's National Police Institute for the two-hour rental of the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The order will make it easier for various agencies to coordinate a security plan for Thursday's speech at the university.
University of Florida President Kent Fuchs earlier this month asked students to stay away from the campus event.
He also led a group of supporters carrying torches in May in Charlottesville, Virginia, in a display that critics said evoked images of the Ku Klux Klan. "It is our creation and our inheritance, and it belongs to us", he said. It is both a shame that the likes of Richard Spencer abuse their freedom of speech to sow discord and hate rather than unity and that radical individuals and groups force school administrators to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect a constitutional right.
"If you are like me, I expect you are surprised and even shocked to learn that UF is required by law to allow Mr. Spencer to speak his racist views on our campus, and that we are not allowed by law to bill him for the full costs of keeping our campus safe, which exceed more than a half million dollars", he wrote.
A group in Orlando chose to take action shortly after that event.