Alt-right leader Richard Spencer is now allowed to speak at Auburn Tuesday evening, even though the Alabama University canceled his event due to safety concerns.
A federal judge in Alabama has ordered Auburn University to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on Tuesday night after a man sued the Alabama state school, claiming it violated free speech rights by canceling the event.
Spencer Selvidge / Reuters
A person under the name Cameron Padgett filed the complaint Tuesday morning, claiming the Auburn University violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments by canceling Spencer's appearance at the student union, according to the complaint.
Padgett says he rented the auditorium where Spencer planned to speak and since it is a public institution — and because he complied with all the university's conditions — the alt-right leader's event should have never been canceled.
“Auburn is not allowed to pick and choose what views are to be represented in a facility open to the general public for holding meetings and giving and hearing speeches,” Padgett stated in the complaint.
The university initially canceled Spencer's event over safety concerns.
Judge Wallace Capel, Jr. later agreed, noting that the right to freedom of speech means “nothing if it is restricted to popular or conventional speech.”
And since Auburn is funded by the state, it is not allowed to cancel the white nationalist's event just because it disagreed with his views. To get around that, Auburn had to have proven that the speech would incite immediate violence or unrest, which it did not.
Auburn said in a statement that it “will abide by the judge’s decision that Spencer be allowed to speak on campus tonight. We continue working closely with law enforcement officials to ensure the safety of the campus community.”