UC students, let’s brace ourselves. With the looming prospect of white supremacist Richard Spencer coming to speak at the university's campus, many have an obvious and substantiated distaste toward his presence. The legalities surrounding Spencer’s freedom of speech rights and the campuses duty as a public university to allow any (even offensive) public speakers to voice their patois on campus grounds may supersede the students' and faculties' personal oppositions.
Spencer’s past hate speeches have left a trail of violence, uproar, and even death. Universities fear the wrath of his workings as they’ve shown to produce the opposite effect of fairness by simply giving someone a soapbox to stand on to spread their ideas. His thoughts and those who share them mixed with those who oppose them can, and have, lead to terrible consequences. Thereby, many universities have refused his appearance.
Despite standing along student and faculty wishes, this has led to lawsuits against schools for denying Spencer his right to speak at a public domain. This posits a difficult situation for school officials: either deny Spencer his right to speak and unwittingly pay this racist bigot a large sum of money or allow him to speak and put students at risk for the same tragedy that befell Charlottesville.
It is my opinion that money should not be a factor to be weighed in the making of this decision. Still, whether or not he comes to the University of Cincinnati after given permission on the basis of upholding his first amendment rights, the real concern is how will his presence influence reactions.
Spewing venomous hate disguised as political opinion can aptly ruffle the feathers of progressive and intelligent UC scholars. However, our response as students will be the definitive marker for the outcome of Spencer’s rally. Expressing opinions that oppose Spencer’s without reducing our minds and character to the lowest depths as he and others like him may expect from us is key to keeping this tension-filled anticipation from becoming a violent demonstration when it occurs. As students, it is up to us to control how this situation will ensue.
Let's not give this man the power to disrupt the united community we've so proudly built together.