Kent State Turns Down Request For Richard Spencer Speech

Jan 19, 2018

Kent State University has turned down a request from associates of white nationalist Richard Spencer to hold an event at its Student Multicultural Center on May 4. That’s the 48th anniversary of the day the National Guard shot 13 students protesting the Vietnam War, killing four.

The university says it values respectful dialogue “including ideology that is controversial or offensive,” but it says it can’t accommodate the event during the busy final weeks of the semester.

Cameron Padgett, the Georgia student who is organizing Spencer’s tour of campuses around the country, has already sued several other schools for turning down his request, including Ohio State. His attorney, Kyle Bristow, says he’ll be studying closely how Kent accommodates other groups to see if the university is unconstitutionally discriminating against speech.

Bristow also said the May 4 date is important.

“With Padgett and his events, he is interested in peacefully sharing with attendees at his functions his ideas and so I think that would be a most appropriate day to have the event,” Bristow said.

Padgett had indicated he planned to invite white nationalist Richard Spencer to discuss the Kent State shootings and violent left-wing Antifa. 

On Thursday, a pretrial conference was held in Columbus for Padgett’s lawsuit against Ohio State, after they rejected his request to rent space on campus. Michigan State University, which also initially rejected Spencer, settled its own lawsuit and will allow Spencer to speak on March 5.

Padgett is also suing the University of Cincinnati for its excessive security fees. Spencer’s appearance there was planned for March 14.