(WWJ) A controversial speaker — who has been called a white supremacist and a racist — is trying to bring his message to the University of Michigan.
But will he find a receptive audience there? University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald says they’re carefully considering the speaking request made by the team of Richard Spencer, who runs the National Policy Institute and is co-editor of alt-right.com. No decision has been made.
“Obviously one of the careful considerations for us will be paying very close attention to the safety and security of our community,” Fitzgerald said.
For his part, Spencer said he just wants to talk with the students about what’s happening in the world.
“I want to engage with them,” Spencer said. “My perspective, which is highly relevant, which has actually captured the imagination of millions of people around the country, is one that is suppressed at major universities.”
Spencer is crediting with popularizing the term “alt-right.” His think tank, per its mission statement, aims to “elevate the consciousness of whites, ensure our biological and cultural continuity, and protect our civil rights.” He was scheduled to speak at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville – a white supremacist rally that erupted into violence, leaving dozens injured and one dead.
He told WWJ’s Zahra Huber he is not a white supremacist or racist. But he did not reject the notion that he’s a white nationalist. “White nationalist, I think it’s a little bit more of an objective term I wouldn’t object to. The term I use is ‘identitarian.’ But it means that identity is at the heart of what I do.”
Identitarian is a white nationalist movement originating in France. According to wikipedia, it strongly opposes interracial marriage, with many in it believing the white genocide conspiracy theory.
Spencer said he targeted the University of Michigan for a speech because it’s one of the most important academic institutions in the country, adding, “It is a major place in the Midwest for free discussion, it’s a place where change happens and so I want to be there.”
Spencer has been barred from several universities due to safety concerns. A request to Michigan State University earlier this year was denied.