Kent State denies space request for white nationalist speaking event

Ben Orner

Kent State University is “unable to accommodate” a request from an associate of white nationalist Richard Spencer because a venue is not available.

In a statement, Eric Mansfield, the university’s executive director for university media relations, said Kent State responded to Cameron Padgett, who has scheduled speaking engagements on college campuses for Spencer. On Wednesday, Padgett requested use of the Student Multicultural Center on May 4 and said in the request he planned to invite white nationalists Richard Spencer and Michael Peinovich for a discussion about the Kent State shootings and “violent left-wing Antifa protestors.”

“The weeks of April 30 – May 12 are always an exceptionally busy time on our campus, with numerous activities marking the end of our academic year,” Mansfield said.

“Kent State values respectful dialogue from all points of view, including ideology that is controversial or offensive,” Mansfield continued. “Consistent with our core values, we encourage open dialogue, freedom of expression and respectful discourse in an inclusive environment.”

Ann Myers, senior assistant director of the Division of Student Affairs, responded in an email to Padgett and said mostly what Mansfield released to the media. 

“I am sorry we cannot accommodate your request,” her email read. “The weeks of April 30 to May 12 are always an exceptionally busy time on our campus, with numerous activities marking the end of our academic year.”

Myers added, “You should also know, according to university policy, a student organization or university department must sponsor your event.”

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