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Government/Politics

Free Speech Bill Could Allow White Nationalist Richard Spencer To Speak At State Owned Universities

Republican, Powell, Ohio
Jo Ingles
/
Representative Andy Brenner

A controversial white nationalist says he’ll sue two state universities if they don’t agree by Friday to let him speak on their campuses. The request is raising concerns about safety if the speech is eventually allowed. The sponsor of a so-called “campus free speech” bill says it could set rules for situations like this in the future.

“Well either we have free speech or we don’t. I don’t agree with his speech. I disagree with him completely. However, he also has a right to free speech.” - Representative Andy Brenner

Republican Representative Andy Brenner says the Ohio Campus Free Speech Act hasn’t had hearings yet. But it could pave the way for Richard Spencer, who led a white nationalist march that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, to speak on college campuses.

“Well either we have free speech or we don’t. I don’t agree with his speech. I disagree with him completely. However, he also has a right to free speech.”

Brenner says the key would be whether a college group or students made the request. If so, the universities would have to allow it. So far, there haven’t been any requests from student groups based at Ohio State or the University of Cincinnati for Spencer to speak – but a request has come to both from a student from Georgia State. 

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