The university says it has barred the National Policy Institute – a white supremacist think tank headed by Spencer – from renting event space.
"This decision was made after assessing potential risks with campus, community, state and federal law enforcement officials following violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., and continued calls online and in social media for similar violence in Gainesville such as those decreeing: 'The Next Battlefield is in Florida,' " university President W. Kent Fuchs said in a statement.
Fuchs said the potential for violence – not necessarily distaste for Spencer's ideas – contributed to the decision.
"I find the racist rhetoric of Richard Spencer and white nationalism repugnant and counter to everything the university and this nation stands for," Fuchs wrote. "That said, the University of Florida remains unwaveringly dedicated to free speech and the spirit of public discourse. However, the First Amendment does not require a public institution to risk imminent violence to students and others."
Good. Don't give him a space to advocate for more violence.— 1hav3n0nam3 (@Nam3l3551) August 16, 2017
They should rent him the space, allow him to speak, but not tell anyone where or when. Have him speak to an empty hall.— BeleaguredCrosspatch (@VictorB123) August 16, 2017
Now if only the President of the United States of America would stop defending white supremacists.— Elux Troxl (@EluxTroxl) August 16, 2017
Earlier this week, Texas A&M University canceled a similar rally scheduled to take place on its campus September 11, an event inspired by the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Initially, the organizer of the "White Lives Matter" event wanted Spencer to be the headlining speaker. A spokesman for the university said the event potentially presented "a major security risk on our campus."