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University of Michigan begins process of allowing white supremacist to speak

Posted at 10:43 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 23:14:48-05

The University of Michigan will begin talks to allow a white supremacist speak on campus.

Tuesday night, the Board of Regents and President Mark Schlissel held a meeting to discuss their decision to begin the process to allow Richard Spencer to speak on campus.

Richard Spencer is a white supremacist who became known after the Charlottesville tragedy.  A woman was hit and killed after a car rammed into counter protestors, for an event Spencer was speaking at.

Spencer and his representatives have requested to rent space to speak on campus at the University of Michigan.

"I recognize that an appearance by Spencer will cause genuine emotional hurt to many members  of our community,” said U of M President, Mark Schlissel.

Schlissel was clear he doesn’t support Spencer’s views.

"I personally detest and reject the hateful white supremacy and white nationalism expressed by Mr. Spencer as well as his racist, anti Semitic and otherwise bigoted views,” said Schlissel.

But he does support free speech. 

"As painful as it is to allow this speaker to rent our space, a democratic society without free speech is unimaginable,” said Schlissel.

Students who were given the opportunity to speak out at the meeting were angry.  Many yelled over the president during his remarks.  Those that spoke during the comment section were adamant they don’t want Spencer on campus.
Schlissel said it will all come down to the talks with Spencer’s people and if they can negotiate a safe space.

"If we can not assure a reasonably safe setting for the event will not allow it to go forward,” said Schlissel.

The University of Michigan has created a website where students and those interested can monitor the progress on the talks and the decision.  You can find it here.