By Maria Kanso, News Editor
White nationalist Richard Spencer’s request to speak on the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus in November has caused a storm of rage from students that shook social media outlets for the past four months.
Nearly 100 people attended a rally on the Dearborn campus last month in opposition to Spencer’s appearance on the Ann Arbor campus. Students eventually marched into UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little’s office to ask for his stance on the issue.
Little said he will continue to speak against hate, but Spencer has a constitutional right to speak.
“We have a constitution which protects the right of any person to have equal rights and freedom of expression, no matter how much we dislike–how much we frankly fear–the results of that fear,” Little said.
“We have to simply have our own ways of protecting our community and being solid as a community together.”
Mikha’il Mchawar, the director of marketing of PRIDE, the student organization that supports the LGBTQ community, said the chancellor should send out an email to the student body and the Board of Regents stating his support for students.
“I think he [Little] is afraid,” Mchawar said after not receiving any such email. “He also said he doesn’t feel like it’s necessary, which I understand, but I think he is afraid because he knows the impact that Richard Spencer would have on our campus and what it means to the UM-Dearborn community.”
Mchawar also said he thinks students in Dearborn are more concerned about Spencer speaking than students from the Ann Arbor campus because the UM-Dearborn community “has a much higher ratio of people with color to white people.”
The chancellor’s office did not immediately return a phone call to the Michigan Journal on Monday evening.
A student coalition called Stop Spencer was formed in Ann Arbor, with more that 10 student organizations supporting its cause.
The National Policy Institute, Spencer’s group representative, requested to rent a space to speak at the UM-Ann Arbor campus on Oct. 3, 2017, without an invitation from university administration.
A University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting was held on Nov. 21 where no decision was reached, but the board announced it would begin discussions with Spencer and the National Policy Institute on whether he would be allowed to speak on campus.
Many students from both Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses showed up during the meeting, filling up the entire hallway. “They couldn’t even fit [in] the room,” according to Mchawar.
Spencer’s attorney, Kyle Bristow, announced he would extend the deadline for the decision until Dec. 8, saying that Spencer would file a lawsuit if his first amendment rights were threatened.
University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said Spencer will not be allowed to speak if the safety of the public is threatened.
“We can and will impose limits on time, place and manner of a speaking engagement to protect the safety of our University of Michigan community,” Schlissel said during the meeting.
There is currently no set date to when Spencer would speak, but the deadline to determine a time and place has been extended to the end of January.