Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Skirmishes flare at Michigan State University before Richard Spencer speech

Skirmishes flare at Michigan State University before Richard Spencer speech

In October, Florida declared a state of emergency to guard against violence between Spencer's supporters and hundreds of protesters as Spencer gave a speech at the University of Florida in Gainsville.

The Detroit Free Press reports there was a heavy police presence near campus with almost 100 officers at the scene wearing riot gear. Two dozen people were arrested following violent confrontations.

A few Spencer supporters turned around instead of trying to get in, according to reports. Bottles and rocks were thrown.

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Economics senior Rahul Pillai attended the protest and said the university's decision to hold the event during spring break had an impact on the number of attendees.

"This is our free speech being exercised", said David Sherman, 25, who drove to the campus from Indianapolis to protest Spencer's event.

MSU Police Capt. Doug Monette and dozens of law enforcement officers were on hand to monitor the event and the crowd it drew. One man said he was on the fence about Spencer as a person but came out of the speech with a better understanding. "We want to let him know there's more people out here who hate what he stands for than who are going to be inside listening". Cameron Padgett, who organizes speaking appearances for Spencer, sued MSU in September for denying his request to rent space on campus for the event.

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A federal judge ordered the two sides into mediation.

"I heard about Richard Spencer being able to speak on MSU's campus, and I understand that MSU kind of had their hands bound with this decision", Franklin said.

"The safety and security of our campus community remains our top priority", Monette said. The alt-right leader helped organized the "Unite the Right" white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last summer where one counterprotestor was killed.

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