MSU denies request by white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak on campus

- Michigan State University has denied a request to speak on campus from group led by white supremacist Richard Spencer.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the university said the decision was based on safety concerns in light of the Charlottesville, Virginia violence which left three dead and dozens injured. The request had been made by Spencer's National Policy Institute,

"After consultation with law enforcement officials, Michigan State University has decided to deny the National Policy Institute's request to rent space on campus to accommodate a speaker," the statement said. "This decision was made due to significant concerns about public safety in the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville last weekend."

The school had been considering the request for the past few days, saying it doesn't make decisions on access to public space based on what someone thinks or says.

"While we remain firm in our commitment to freedom of expression," the statement today said, "our first obligation is to the safety and security of our students and our community."

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 also denied a request by the group to rent space on campus for a September event.

In a statement Wednesday MSU said in part: "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.

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

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