The University of Florida will shell out $600,000 for security for a speech white nationalist Richard Spencer will deliver on the Gainesville, Fla., campus Thursday, university President Kent Fuchs said.
Spencer is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon, and his appearance has law enforcement and the university on high alert.
The university is charging the National Policy Institute, Spencer's organization, $10,564 to rent the venue on campus where the speech will be held, as well as security within the space. But the school has to cover the remainder of security costs.
"I fully understand freedom of speech cannot be burdened legally with the full cost of this, but on the other hand we're being burdened," Fuchs told the Associated Press. "So taxpayers are subsidizing hate speech."
Fuchs said the school decided to endure the costs associated with the additional security on campus in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., in August, that erupted when white nationalist groups clashed with counter-protesters during a "Unite the Right" rally, which Spencer attended.
Spencer was initially supposed to speak at the University of Florida in September, but the schooled denied a request for the National Policy Institute to rent the space on campus.
The white nationalist leader threatened to sue, and the university ultimately agreed to let him speak.
Fuchs and Florida lawmakers, including Republicans Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ted Yoho, who represents Gainesville, urged students to stay away from the Spencer event and instead challenge his message.
Spencer has spoken on college campuses before, including at the Texas A&M University and Auburn University, and his appearances have sparked protests.
Because of the "episodes of violence, civil unrest, and multiple arrests," that have occurred in response to his speeches, Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned a "threat of potential emergency is imminent" in Alachua County, where the University of Florida is located.
The governor declared a state of emergency for the county Monday, which allows state and local law enforcement to coordinate resources from agencies statewide.