JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- While it is not planned for a controversial white nationalist to speak at the University of Florida this month, university officials announced Friday that he could still apply to speak on campus in the future.
Last month, UF president, Dr. W. Kent Fuchs denied the request by the group, National Policy Institute, to have the white nationalist leader, Richard Spencer, to speak on campus on Sept. 12. Fuchs cited concerns of violence after the violent rallies that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia.
On Wednesday, the president sent out a letter to students and staff informing them that the National Policy Institute has retained legal counsel and plans to pursue efforts to have Spencer speak as originally requested.
"We are prepared to vigorously defend our decision," Fuchs said. "The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our highest priority."
On Friday, another email was sent out by the university explaining that there was an ongoing dialogue with the group. Though the university stated that it is committed to upholding the First Amendment to free speech, National Policy Institute does not represent the university's institutional values.
"However, it could be unconstitutional to permanently ban this speaker," the email stated.
UF said it will consider the request from Spencer if he requests to speak on a different date. However, moving forward, the university will still consider safety and security factors when it comes to their decision.