Hundreds of Anti-Nazi chants shut down a speech at the University of Florida by white supremacist Richard Spencer last week. In response, the university's President W. Kent Fuchs used a word that is "seldom heard from a public college administrator" in stating that "Love and good deeds always overcome hate and evil."
Fuchs, who received degrees in divinity and engineering took to Twitter with a video that urged students to "speak loudly about 'our values of love.'" In the days before Spencer gave his campus speech, students and faculty voiced their disapproval of hosting a speaker whose "presence posed a threat to safety and disrupted the university's educational mission." Following the speech however, Fuchs admitted that he “did feel that what Spencer was saying was actually the opposite of love...People of color and our Jewish community which is one of the largest in the nation, really felt hated by him. I felt it was important that I use the word [love]."
Spencer was initially barred from speaking on campus due to threats of violence, but was later permitted to give his speech after it was confirmed that "credible threats had passed and that security could be provided." No serious violence took place during the speech, but three men who identified as Mr. Spencer's supporters were charged with attempted murder after firing shots at protestors.
Following the event, Fuchs was not shy in labeling Spencer as "racist," stating that he does "believe it's really important to understand who [Spencer] is. He's not a usual controversial speaker. He is an individual who has a certain message that is just totally contrary to what universities represent, and ours in point. Some of that language makes our general counsel a little uncomfortable, but I felt strong about it that it was necessary."
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