The hosting of white supremacist Richard Spencer at Alabama college Auburn University on April 18 was certainly not received well by students. NPR reports his presence sparked violence, demonstrations, and detainment. Some hundreds of people protested outside of Foy Hall, and three people were arrested for disorderly conduct.
One woman, however, is making waves on Twitter for peacefully challenging Spencer in the meeting hall itself.
"How are white people more racially oppressed than black people," the student asked Spencer, "because I'm a black woman in a predominantly white institution, and I want to know what challenges you all face that I don't."
Solid question. The student's outspokenness was met with shouting and loud chatter, of which she shot down.
"I'm not talking to you," she said to the crowd. "I asked a question for him."
The student had another question for Spencer: "How did it feel when you got punched in the face at the inauguration?"
This time, the crowd clapped.
Auburn University itself was reportedly surprised by Spencer's arrival. Troy Public Radio's Kyle Gassiott said Spencer rented the space through a third party, so the news of his upcoming appearance was met with shock by both staffers and students.
At first, the college tried to block Spencer from using the campus, but a federal judge undid the move on the grounds of free speech.
In a letter from Auburn University provost, the school cited safety concerns for the attempted cancelation.
"Auburn University supports the rights and privileges afforded by the First Amendment. However, when the tenets of free speech are overshadowed by threats to the safety of our students, faculty, and staff, we have a responsibility to protect our campus and the men and women who unite our academic community. The decision to cancel the Richard Spencer event last week was informed by leadership from all of the university's shared governance groups and the Auburn Police Division, all of whom articulated legitimate concerns for the safety and security of our campus."
Given the violence that ensued — a man lying bloodied on the ground was later detained — the school was certainly in the right here.
A sweeping solution would be to cancel the entire white nationalist movement, period.
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