Michigan State reviewing request by white nationalist Richard Spencer

- Michigan State University says it hasn't decided wether to rent space to a group headed by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

The university says it's reviewing a request by the National Policy Institute closely "in light of the deplorable violence" in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. But the school also says it doesn't make decisions on access to public space based on what someone thinks or says.

In a statement Wednesday, Michigan State says granting access doesn't mean it endorses the "messages that might be delivered there." The university says diversity is a source of strength at the East Lansing, Michigan, campus.

Meanwhile, the University of Florida is denying a request by the group to rent space on campus for a September event.

Here's the full statement from the university:

Michigan State University has been contacted by the National Policy Institute seeking to rent space to accommodate a speaker on campus. The NPI describes itself as "dedicated to the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent."

We are aware of no connection with any MSU-related group or individual, but such is not required to seek publicly available space.

No decision has yet been made. We are reviewing the request closely in light of the deplorable violence in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

Michigan State takes seriously its obligations to accommodate a broad range of speech. As our record shows, this university does not determine who can access public spaces based on what they think or say.

Allowing access to public spaces would in no way constitute endorsement of messages that might be delivered there. NPI and similar groups' events staged at American campuses are intended to provoke reaction that might seem to justify organizers' racist and divisive messages, which we categorically reject.

The diversity they shun is a source of our strength, like America itself, and every day some 65,000 students, faculty and MSU staff-and half a million alumni-are the living proof. So we will not be intimidated, nor stoop to reciprocate hate.

As America's pioneer land-grant university, MSU from the start was dedicated to opening broad access to cutting-edge knowledge. We are proud of MSU's long engagement in civil and human rights. And we will continue to welcome and nurture the diverse, engaged citizen-scholars that this world needs-today more than ever.

We stand with our colleagues across the country for the best of humanity, and our resolve is implacable. Spartans Will.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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