(JTA) — The booking agent for white nationalist Richard Spencer has filed a federal lawsuit against The Ohio State University for refusing a request to rent space on campus for a speech by the controversial far-right figure.
The lawsuit, filed on Sunday, comes after the university on Friday informed Cameron Padgett, a graduate student at Georgia State University, who handles Spencer’s speaking arrangements, said that the request to rent space was denied due to the “substantial risk to public safety.”
The letter from the university’s attorney read: “The University values freedom of speech. Nonetheless, the University has determined that it is not presently able to accommodate Mr. Padgett’s request to rent space at the university due to substantial risks to public safety, as well as material and substantial disruption to the work and discipline of the university.”
Ohio State issued the denial more than a week after Spencer appeared at the University of Florida, which brought hundreds of protesters, and cost the university more than $500,000 for security for the event. The governor of Florida also declared a state of emergency in the county where the campus is located prior to the speech.
Ohio State, located in Columbus, has more than 2,700 Jewish undergraduates on campus, comprising about 6 percent of the undergraduate student population. There also are about 350 Jewish graduate students on campus.