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Penn State says no to Richard Spencer

Jamie Martines
| Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, 1:30 p.m.
White nationalist Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute and self-described creator of the term 'alt-right,' announced his intention to speak at rallies at Texas A&M University and the University of Florida in September.
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White nationalist Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute and self-described creator of the term 'alt-right,' announced his intention to speak at rallies at Texas A&M University and the University of Florida in September.

Penn State will not allow white nationalist leader Richard Spencer to speak on campus, reports the Centre Daily Times.

Spencer is the head of the National Policy Institute and is credited with coining the term "alt-right," according to the Washington Post.

"I disagree profoundly with the content that has been presented publicly about this speaker's views which are abhorrent and contradictory to our University's values," Eric Barron, president of Penn State, said in a statement. "There is no place for hatred, bigotry or racism in our society and on our campuses."

The statement also mentioned safety concerns.

"After critical assessment by campus police, in consultation with state and federal law enforcement officials, we have determined that Mr. Spencer is not welcome on our campus, as this event at this time presents a major security risk to students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus," the statement said. "It is the likelihood of disruption and violence, not the content, however odious, that drives our decision."

Penn State is not the only university to deny requests to bring Spencer to campus.

Michigan State University cited safety concerns in a statement released last week.

"This decision was made due to significant concerns about public safety in the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville last weekend," the statement said. "While we remain firm in our commitment to freedom of expression, our first obligation is to the safety and security of our students and our community."

According to USA Today, University of Florida, Louisiana State University and Texas A&M also cited safety concerns as the reason events were cancelled or requests for space on campus were denied.

Spencer faced protests when he spoke at Texas A&M in December 2016.

Members of the Penn State community reacted to the announcement on Twitter.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at jmartines@tribweb.com, 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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