Chancellor blocks white supremacist from speaking at UNC-Chapel Hill
Posted August 30
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Citing safety concerns, Chancellor Carol Folt said Wednesday that she won't allow white supremacist and alt-right leader Richard Spencer to speak at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank, sought to rent space on the Chapel Hill campus for Spencer to speak.
"Our basis for this decision is the safety and security of the campus community – we are not willing to risk anyone’s safety in light of these known risks," Folt said in a letter to the campus community, noting that she had consulted with campus police and local and state law enforcement agencies.
Spencer, who often is credited with coining "alt-right" as a name for his white identity movement, is president of the National Policy Institute. A University of Virginia graduate, he was in Charlottesville, Va., this month during the violent clash being alt-right groups and counter-protesters.
UNC-Chapel Hill joins a growing list of universities barring Spencer from speaking on their campuses, including Florida, Penn State, Texas A&M and LSU. He has threatened legal action in some of those cases.
"I am deeply saddened and disturbed that the violent and virulent rhetoric being espoused by extremist groups has jeopardized the ability of campuses to promote robust dialogue and debate about important issues while ensuring public safety," Folt said.
She encouraged the UNC-Chapel Hill community to "engage in constructive conversation," including attending a Sept. 6 program called "The First Amendment and Free Speech at UNC" to explore such topics as what the First Amendment protects at a public university.