Richard Spencer no longer pursuing speaking event at Kent State


 In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, Richard Spencer speaks at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas. Twitter has restored Spencer’s personal account less than a month after the social media company suspended it along with other accounts belonging to prominent members of the so-called “alt-right” movement. The company told Spencer that it suspended five of his accounts on Nov. 15 for violating a rule against creating multiple accounts with overlapping uses. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Ben Orner

White nationalist Richard Spencer is no longer looking to speak at Kent State University, nor is he planning to sue the university for being unable to accommodate the event.

In a video Spencer posted to the YouTube page of his organization,, he said he will be ending his college speaking tour after only about two dozen people attended his speech at Michigan State University earlier this month.

Spencer said in the video it is “time to take a step back” from his tour and reevaluate if speaking on college campuses is the most effective way to promote his messages.

Spencer spoke at a handful of universities on his tour, dating back to last year. Speeches at the University of Florida last October and Michigan State on March 5 drew violent protests. However, a majority of the speeches that Spencer planned never happened, because universities including Texas A&M, Penn State and Ohio State denied his request to speak, citing concerns for public safety.

“The college tour idea was to engage with students and community, not have pitched battles,” Spencer tweeted, blaming left-wing group Antifa for the heated protests at some of his speeches.

“…(T)he police aren’t policing (Antifa) properly. We have to recalibrate and find a model that works,” he added.

In many cases, Spencer’s lawyer sued on First Amendment grounds the universities that denied his speaking events.

In January, Spencer’s tour organizer, Cameron Padgett, requested Kent State’s Student Multicultural Center for a May 4 speaking event to discuss Antifa and the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings. The university responded and said it was “unable to accommodate” the request because a venue was not available. Padgett’s lawyer then threatened to sue if Kent State did not reverse its position, but a lawsuit was never filed.

According to court documents, Spencer dropped his lawsuit against Ohio State on March 6. However, Spencer does not plan to drop his lawsuit against the University of Cincinnati, according to the Associated Press.

Ben Orner is the enterprise producer. Contact him at [email protected].