Florida governor declares state of emergency before white nationalist speaks at UF

Screenshot of the Facebook post by Alligator Brewing

Screenshot of the Facebook post by Alligator Brewing. Miami Herald

The Republican governor warned in an executive order "that the threat of potential emergency is imminent", and that recent events involving Spencer often led to "civil unrest".

Set for Florida's Alachua County, the state of emergency comes three days before controversial white supremacist Spencer is scheduled to speak at the school in Gainesville on Thursday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Declaring a state of emergency is fairly unusual, but calling one for a planned event involving a well-known white nationalist at a university is even more extraordinary.

Spencer was to be a featured speaker at the August rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, at which one person died, but authorities stopped the event from taking place after protests and counterprotests turned violent.

The governor called it an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and Gainesville are prepared and that safety is maintained.

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The university stated it is not affiliated with Spencer's event in any way, but as a public institution, it is legally obligated to allow external groups-such as Spencer's National Policy Institute -to express their viewpoints on the campus.

Spencer's group distributing the tickets itself also means there is no telling who will show up for the event.

Darnell said they requested additional help from the governor in an abundance of caution ahead of what could turn out to be a heated face-off between Spencer's following and counter protesters.

However, UF President Kent Fuchs has urged his students to "avoid the event" and to "not let the message of hate and racism go unchallenged". It will also allow Scott to spend surplus money as he deems necessary. He wrote in an email that Spencer and his group seek only "to provoke a reaction". "I have been in constant contact with Sheriff Darnell who has requested this executive order to ensure that county and local law enforcement have every needed resource". Darnell said now they are expecting both protesters and counterprotesters to show up in connection to Spencer's appearance.

"We have looked at what happened in Charlottesville and Berkeley", Darnell said, referring to events in Virginia and at the University of California at Berkeley. We're hoping that this is going to be a non-event. "But in the reality of this world we have to be well prepared".

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