Students at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville yelled and chanted for around two hours on Thursday as White Supremacist and National Policy Institute President Richard Spencer tried to speak over the crowd. Many chanted anti-American slogans and attacked the First Amendment, which allowed Spencer the right to speak at the public institution.
Red Alert Politics recently reported that University of Florida President Kent Fuchs sent a statement to the students, saying he was “shocked to learn that UF is required by law to allow Mr. Spencer to speak his racist views on our campus.” Many students shared the same sentiment, which put the focus of the event on the debate surrounding free speech, instead of focusing on the vile and repugnant nature of Spencer’s views.
During the morning hours before Spencer’s talk, Fuchs strolled amongst students on campus, encouraging them to attend classes and study in the library as if it were a normal day. He said they should speak out against Spencer and his ideas, but not near the event – both for safety and to diminish Spencer’s platform. He said Spencer and his group want “to distract us from their message and cause us to protest them and to cause them to be perceived as the victims.”
Fuchs’ suggestions fell on deaf ears.
A mob, numbering in the thousands, descended onto UF’s campus – more than justifying the roughly $600,000 that the university spent to provide security for the event. But rather than blame the protesters who caused the university to have to spend such an enormous sum, Fuchs complained to the Associated Press that “taxpayers are subsidizing hate speech.”
As 2:30 neared, thousands of protesters marched near the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts with signs, many chanting, “No Trump, no wall, no USA at all.” Others chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! White supremacy’s got to go!” One woman held a sign that read, “Fill scum with cum!”
Dozens of the protesters acquired tickets to the event and stood in the back of the auditorium with raised fists as Spencer spoke, chanting “Go home Spencer, go home!”
Throughout the event, the crowd refused to let Spencer speak. They booed, chanted, and screamed while he tried to convince them to have a civil conversation, promising to allow them a chance to ask questions and debate at the end of his talk.
When he tried to convince them he opposes a system that is not just “anti-white but is actually against all identities, including yours.” The protesters responded with chants of “Alt-Right, you can’t hide. You support genocide.”
At one point, he stopped speaking entirely for several minutes to let the protesters grow tired of their screaming. He said that out of all the universities he’s spoken at, they are by far the rudest crowd he had ever seen.
The Q&A session proceeded no differently. The students quieted down long enough to hear the questions but immediately reverted to heckling when Spencer tried to respond. One student in attendance described Spencer as extremely polite, even with the students who used the Q&A to curse him.
The last student to ask a question, Suraj Dalal, strongly rebuked the crowd for their behavior. He said he was a Black Lives Matter supporter before the event, but, with the way the liberal students had behaved during Spencer’s talk, he realized he’s against everything they stand for. Dalal said he doesn’t agree with anything Spencer said, but the way the crowd behaved is not the way the First Amendment is supposed to work.
As Spencer’s 20 to 30 supporters exited the building, they were met by an Antifa mob who beat and pepper sprayed them as they tried to make it to their cars. Half an hour after the event ended, the protesters continued to scream and chant as if Spencer were still there.
Spencer was originally scheduled to speak at UF on September 12, but after a white nationalist murdered protester Heather Heyer during the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, the university canceled the event. Faced with a lawsuit, UF administration reluctantly changed course and allowed Spencer to rent an on-campus venue.
Spencer, who calls himself an “identitarian,” takes credit for coining the term “Alt-Right” and, true to the label, holds views that are in stark opposition to that of the values of the American right. For instance, he recently told north central Florida’s WUFT-FM, “You might actually find a lot of our views to be liberal, or even leftist.” When he spoke at Texas A&M University, Spencer called conservatism “useless.” A libertarian student at Auburn University scolded Spencer for talking about race and not focusing instead on economics. The Alt-Right provocateur responded with “F*ck libertarianism!” He went on to praise collectivism and told the student he should go to the libertarian Mises Institute, also in Auburn, and masturbate over gold coins.
While many view the UF protesters as heroes for drowning out the voice of a white supremacist, others are pointing out that they made Spencer appear as a victim of the mob. In reality, his views are some of the vilest in America and his sole purpose in visiting UF was to disrupt the campus. Truly, the only real heroes were the police who kept UF students and the surrounding community safe throughout the entire ordeal.