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In an email obtained by The Michigan Daily, University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser (R) expressed his desire to deny the request of prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak on campus.
“Spencer is a disgusting and dangerous man. This has been expressed by many members of the University community,” Weiser wrote. “I hope we are successful in keeping him off Campus.”
Weiser's statement is, so far, the clearest opposition to Spencer's request by any member of the University's administration. In recent interview with The Daily, University President Mark Schlissel said the only thing the University was considering regarding Spencer's request was the University's ability to ensure community safety and a lack of disruption.
“What the University will do is it will speak to the representatives of the person who wants to come and speak, and try to find a way that they can speak in a time and a place and a manner where we can assure the safety of the community. And, if we can get to that point, then anybody would be able to come and speak,” Schlissel said. “If we can't get to that point, where we can assure the non-disruptive nature and the safety of our community, then the person won't get to speak. So that's the balance. And we're not there yet. We don't know what's going on yet, other than the fact that we're content neutral when it comes to speakers.”
Spencer has also spoken and requested to speak at several other college campuses. After the University of Florida was threatened with a lawsuit after initially denying Spencer's request following the white supremacist rally that left one woman dead, the university allowed him to come, spending $600,000 on security for the event. Michigan State University, after denying a request from Spencer at about the same time, was hit with a lawsuit from Spencer and was recently ordered by a judge to enter mediation with him.
In the email he sent, Weiser wrote, “The courts are not our friends,” appearing to reference the recent court order.
In an email to The Daily, Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R), who is also the senior vice president for government affairs for Delta Air Lines, agreed with Weiser, saying she “would be happy to defend a lawsuit.”
“I hope Richard Spencer is not allowed to speak on Campus,” she wrote. “I have expressed my sentiments to the President. I do not think it’s a good idea for Richard Spencer to speak on campus.”