White nationalist might speak on Kent shooting anniversary

By John Seewer - The Associated Press

TOLEDO, Ohio — The campus tour organizer for white nationalist Richard Spencer is making a bid for him to speak at Kent State University this spring on the anniversary of the shootings during a Vietnam war protest that killed four students.

A university spokesman confirmed Thursday that organizer Cameron Padgett has asked to rent space at Kent State’s Student Multicultural Center on May 4.

The university would only say that it’s reviewing the request, said Eric Mansfield, a Kent State spokesman.

Spencer, a leading figure in the white nationalist movement, has been barred by several schools from speaking on campus and has lawsuits pending against some.

An attorney for Spencer and his tour organizer announced a lawsuit earlier this month against the University of Cincinnati’s president after the school wouldn’t rent space for Spencer to speak unless a security fee is paid.

The request for space at Kent State is for the date when, nearly 48 years ago, Ohio National Guard members fired into a crowd protesting the Vietnam war. Each year, the school remembers the shootings with events on campus.

Schools that have rejected Spencer’s attempts to speak on their campuses have said they were concerned about the potential for violent clashes and protests.

Minor skirmishes broke out when Spencer spoke at the University of Florida. But three of his supporters were arrested on attempted-murder charges after an off-campus shooting later that day.

Authorities estimated spending $600,000 on security costs for the Florida speech.

Spencer has popularized the term “alt-right” to refer to a fringe movement that’s a mix of white nationalist, white supremacist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigration beliefs. He helped organize a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August that resulted in violence and the death of a woman protesting against the white nationalist agenda.

By John Seewer

The Associated Press