University of Cincinnati sued over proposed cost of Richard Spencer speech on campus

The booker for racist “alt-right” front man Richard Spencer is suing the University of Cincinnati over the proposed cost of security for a speaking event on the southern Ohio campus.

Cameron Padgett, a 29-year-old Georgia State University graduate student, filed suit in federal court Monday evening, saying the school is unconstitutionally invoking a “heckler’s veto” over Spencer speaking on campus by imposing $10,833 in security fees.

Spencer is currently scheduled to speak on the campus March 14, during spring break when most students will not be around.

The lawsuit, filed by white nationalist attorney Kyle Bristow, is the latest front in an ongoing series of battles related to Spencer’s attempt to speak on campuses around the country.

Padgett is already suing the Ohio State University, Penn State University and Michigan State University over attempts to schedule speaking engagements there.

Spencer has been an unwelcome presence on many campuses after appearing at the violent rally in Charlottesville, where Heather Heyer was run down and killed by a white supremacist, and Gainesville, where racists fired a gun at protestors.

In the lawsuit, Bristow and Padgett say the University of Cincinnati’s criteria in determining security fees is unconstitutional.

The school weighs questions such as “Is the event/speaker controversial?” and whether any threats have been received.

The lawsuit also says Padgett is not an employee nor agent of Spencer or the National Policy Institute, the alt-right think tank Spencer is aligned with.

But, public records obtained from the University of Florida show that Padgett helped arrange Spencer’s October speaking engagement there, but the costs were covered by the National Policy Institute.

Bristow, in an expletive filled email to Hatewatch, declined to comment Tuesday on Padgett’s role and relationship to Spencer and the NPI.

Padgett did not immediately return messages sent to him on Twitter. 

Comments, suggestions or tips? Send them to HWeditor@splcenter.org and follow us on Twitter @Hatewatch.