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Attorney threatening to sue universities for denying Richard Spencer

White nationalist leader Richard Spencer, speaking last December at Texas A&M University in College Station, intends to speak at two universities in Ohio this month. An attorney for associates of Spencer said he’ll sue Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati if they don’t agree by Friday to make campus space available to Spencer.
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer, speaking last December at Texas A&M University in College Station, intends to speak at two universities in Ohio this month. An attorney for associates of Spencer said he’ll sue Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati if they don’t agree by Friday to make campus space available to Spencer. AP file

Two more universities are facing legal action from white nationalist leader Richard Spencer.

Penn State is not one of them.

Michigan attorney Kyle Bristow sent letters to both Ohio State and University of Cincinnati threatening a suit if Spencer can’t speak on the campuses by Friday, according to The Associated Press.

Bristow is the same attorney who represents Georgia college student Cameron Padgett in a suit filed in September against Michigan State.

In September, he told WCPO television in Cincinnati that he expected a planned appearance to happen in October.

White nationalist leader Richard Spencer spoke at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas on Dec. 6, 2016. The room at the Student Center was mostly filled with people who protested against him.

The Sunday emails to both Ohio schools ramp up the deadlines for those appearances.

Padgett is booking appearances for a series of speeches by Spencer, the leader of the National Policy Institute and a self-described “identitarian,” who returned Saturday to Charlottesville, Va., the site of an alt-right rally that turned violent in August, ending in the death of one woman and injuries of other opposition protestors.

Penn State is one of the schools that has been contacted about hosting an appearance.

University President Eric Barron said last month that will not happen, attributing the decision to safety concerns.

“I disagree profoundly with the content that has been presented publicly about this speaker’s views, which are abhorrent and contradictory to our university’s values. There is no place for hatred, bigotry or racism in our society and on our campuses,” he said in a release.

Ohio State and Cincinnati join Michigan State and Auburn as schools that have faced legal action from Padgett.

Penn State is part of another list of universities, including North Carolina, that have nixed the appearances.

Under growing pressure, the University of Florida did give Spencer the OK to speak on campus this month.

Federal court records show no filings against Ohio State or Cincinnati yet.

A Nov. 3 conference is scheduled for the Michigan State case.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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