Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has declared a state of an emergency in connection with a planned appearance this week at the University of Florida by the white nationalist Richard B. Spencer, reports The Tampa Bay Times.
“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion; however, we have zero tolerance for violence, and public safety is always our No. 1 priority,” Governor Scott, a Republican, said in a written statement.
Violence erupted in August in Charlottesville, Va., following a rally of white nationalists, and Mr. Spencer was among those who organized the event.
The purpose of the order, Mr. Scott said, was to make it easier to plan for and work with other law-enforcement agencies. The order was issued, he said, at the request of local law enforcement. Mr. Spencer is scheduled to speak at the institution on Thursday. The university previously canceled an event featuring Mr. Spencer, but it was rescheduled. In a news release the university said it was prepared to spend at least $500,000 on security.
“Although UF leadership has denounced Spencer’s white-supremacist rhetoric,” the release says, “the university, as a state entity, must allow the free expression of all viewpoints.”