I am just learning about the speaking appearance last night by white nationalist Richard Spencer. at Auburn University. The event was allowed to proceed over Auburn's objections by a federal judge who ordered that Spencer had a right to speak. There were mostly peaceful protests, but there was some violence and three arrests. Prior to the event, police forced the ANTIFA crowd to remove their masks before they were allowed to enter the university.
In my view, Spencer is a vile racist and neo-Nazi. His shouts of Heil this or that are a thinly disguised tribute to Hitler himself.
As to whether he should speak at Auburn, my first reaction is that he has his first amendment rights, but I wondered just who would have invited him to speak. At UC Irvine, where I formally taught part-time, it required a student group on campus to invite a speaker. Apparently, this is not the case at Auburn. Spencer apparently arranged the event himself. (Auburn is a public university.)
In the past year or two, I have become alarmed at the rise in anti-white rhetoric in universities by students and faculty. White students are being stigmatized as being inherently racist and "privileged". It is a dangerous and divisive tactic. The deliberate murder of three white men in Fresno yesterday by a black nationalist and Muslim is a testament to that. Nevertheless, white nationalism is not the answer. Coming together as one American people is the answer. Richard Spencer represents nothing but hate, and his message should be rejected.
I can well understand Auburn's position. While legally, Spencer may have had the law on his side, I can appreciate that Auburn did not want him on campus. By the way, I do not consider Spencer to be of the same ilk as Milo Yiannopoulos, who has been at the center of so many recent campus incidents. Whatever Yiannopoulos' faults, he is no Spencer. I have supported Yiannopoulos' right to speak on campus.
I also agree with the actions of the Auburn cops who forced the ANTIFA types to remove their masks before proceeding. It is a tactic other police forces should emulate. ANTIFA is just as odious as the Spencer followers.