Kent State faces possible lawsuit after not allowing white nationalist speaking event

 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

Kent State faces a possible federal lawsuit after reaffirming Friday it cannot accommodate white nationalist Richard Spencer and his associates to speak on campus.

“Kent State has responded to Kyle Bristow reaffirming our earlier response that we cannot accommodate this request as no suitable space is available during the April 30-May 12 time frame,” Eric Mansfield, the executive director of media relations, said in a statement Friday evening.

On Jan. 26, Bristow threatened to sue the university if it did not grant Padgett’s request by Friday at 5 p.m.

Bristow represents Cameron Padgett, the booker for white nationalist Richard Spencer’s speaking events on college campuses.

On Jan. 17, Padgett requested use of the Student Multicultural Center on May 4 to speak about the May 4, 1970, campus shooting and left-wing group Antifa. He planned to invite Spencer and fellow white nationalist Mike Peinovich.

The next day, Kent State told Padgett it was “unable to accommodate” his request because the end of the academic year is an “exceptionally busy time” on campus. KSU also told him university policy states he would need a student group or university department to sponsor him in order to speak.

“If they do not capitulate, suit will be filed in federal court once I get the time to draft the complaint,” Bristow said in an email to KentWired Friday evening.

In the past year, Bristow has sued multiple universities, including Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State for not allowing Padgett and Spencer to speak on campus.

Bristow settled his suit with Michigan State in January. He received more than $27,000 in the settlement, and MSU will allow Spencer to speak in a campus auditorium March 5.

“I will not tolerate left-wing university bureaucrats spitting upon the First Amendment rights of right-wingers,” Bristow wrote in the email. “The Constitution trumps their liberal feelings.”

“To borrow a line from ‘Game of Thrones,’ I will make Kent State University’s administrators bend the knee like the others. I will bring them all to heel. The First Amendment is non-negotiable.”

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