Radfun projects anti-Richard Spencer message on UMMA

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 10:16pm

On Wednesday night, members and students of the social justice organization Radfun projected an image onto the UMMA in support of having University President Mark Schlissel and the Board of Regents deny white nationalist Richard Spencer the opportunity to speak on campus.

Radfun, which describes itself as “radical anticapitalist deviants & forum of united nonconformists,” used a projector to place the image of Spencer being punched in the face alongside the message about denying him the opportunity to speak. 

The projection was broadcasted for an hour and a half for passing students to see.   

LSA senior Kelly Garland, a member of Radfund, expressed concerns that the potential of Spencer’s visit was not being discussed in the student body.

“When we’ve been out talking to people about Richard Spencer a large number just don’t even know who he is and aren’t aware he is asking to come to our campus,” Garland said. “We see this as a problem because we think that the small group of students who is aware of these things asking the administration is easily ignored.”

Members of Radfund, including LSA senior Hoi-An Pham, believe that the first amendment protections given to protect the right of freedom of speech should be reexamined and should not be applicable to speakers like Spencer.

“There are laws in this country that are not fair,” Pham said. “I think we have to look at the fact that there are laws in place that are protecting Richard Spencer, but are these laws actually good laws if they’re protecting white supremacists and marginalized bodies are getting hurt and shot in the streets.”

Spencer has become famous, in part, due to his lawsuits against universities who are unwilling to allow him to speak on their campuses. Spencer has filed lawsuits against Ohio State and Michigan State for their denials of his speaking engagements.  

Garland believes the University of Michigan should fight Spencer in the courts -- where a legal precedent could be set for denying controversial speakers on college campuses.

Schlissel has not stated whether or not he will deny Spencer’s request to speak on campus stating in a recent interview: “What we do is we look for a time and a place, if possible, that assures, as much as possible, safety, and as little disruption to the business of the University as possible.”

Rick Fitzgerald, assistant vice president for public affairs has said "The (U)niversity will carefully consider this request, paying close attention to the safety and security of our community."