Ohio State University sued for rejecting Richard Spencer appearance

Posted at 2:53 PM, Oct 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-22 19:00:08-04

CINCINNATI -- As promised, a Georgia man has sued The Ohio State University for its refusal to rent a room to him so white nationalist Richard Spencer can speak there.

Cameron Padgett's attorney, Kyle Bristow, filed the lawsuit Sunday in U.S. district court.

Ohio State officials rejected a Nov. 15 appearance by Spencer because of safety concerns. Bristow, a fellow a white nationalist, set a Friday deadline for the university to reconsider and come up with a possible alternative.

Padgett is seeking a court order forcing Ohio State to let him rent a room -- without being required to pay for security. He also wants a judgment for general and punitive damages "far in excess of $75,000," Bristow said.

Richard Spencer (Photo by Getty Images)

Spencer spoke last week at the University of Florida, where protesters drowned him out and the school estimated it would spend $600,000 on security.

Bristow also threatened to sue the University of Cincinnati if it wouldn't let Spencer speak on its campus. After an hourslong, closed-door meeting among university trustees Oct. 13, University President Neville Pinto announced the school would let Spencer speak at some future date. Pinto said as a state institution, the university can't block him from speaking simply based on his hateful message.

Padgett has sued other schools, including Penn State and Michigan State, for refusing to let him rent space for Spencer's speeches.

To be clear, UC doesn't even know if he'll show up. No one at the school invited him; instead, that was the doing of Padgett, a senior at Georgia State University who's organizing a tour of campuses by Spencer. According to Bristow, the appearance is likely sometime this winter.

Campus and community leaders say if he does come to Cincinnati, they'll stay focused on love.


Spencer espouses white nationalism, a type of white supremacy whose supporters advocate for enforced racial segregation.

And despite his frequent reliance on First Amendment protections to ensure speaking engagements at college campuses, Spencer also has advanced the idea that the foundational document of his ideal state would not adhere to the United States Constitution but would instead begin, "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created unequal."

Spencer helped organize and headline the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where anti-racist protester Heather Heyer was killed.

Spencer is credited for creating the term "alternative right" -- a political ideology mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism.

He has also been recorded leading and performing Nazi salutes.