Auburn, Ala. (EETV) - Controversial speaker and president of the National Policy Institute Richard Spencer is coming to campus this Tuesday. He was not invited to campus by any Auburn organization or the University itself, per Auburn spokesman Mike Clardy, and is paying to use the space for the event.
Spencer is known for being punched at an anti-Trump event and encouraging the "hail Hitler" salute at gatherings for the National Policy Institute.
The University said in a statement, "We strongly deplore his views, which run counter to those of this institution. While his event isn’t affiliated with the university, Auburn supports the constitutional right to free speech. We encourage the campus community to respond to speech they find objectionable with their own views in civil discourse and to do so with respect and inclusion."
The Southern Poverty Law Center , a legal center focused on civil rights litigation in Montgomery, said in a statement, "we're organizing a counter-event off campus on the 18th and we're encouraging everyone to come to that. The best possible message for Auburn students to deliver to Richard Spencer is to not give any attention to his event."
The SPLC said, "he lives for attention from the media and protestors." Spencer is on a college tour, modeled similarly after alt-right Milo Yiannopolous' tour, which kicked off last year and included a visit to Auburn in October.
Spencer has repeatedly quoted from Nazi propaganda and denounced Jews, and has on several occasions refused to denounce Adolf Hitler.
"We would want to encourage the University to go further and condemn the whole notion of a separatist white student union that supports white nationalist values."
Spencer will be speaking at 7:00 in Foy Hall Auditorium on April 18th. Students have started a petition to un-invite Richard Spencer to speak on campus.
Petition to un-invite Richard Spencer to speak on campus next week.