- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The University of Florida has settled a dispute with Alachua County over the costs associated with white nationalist Richard Spencer’s campus appearance last fall.

The university recently sent Alachua County a check for $67,461.11  to cover costs related to alt-right figure’s Oct. 19 campus event, The Gainesville Sun reported Wednesday.

The appearance marked Mr. Spencer’s first speaking engagement after participating in the deadly Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and hundreds of local and state law enforcement personnel descended on the school’s Gainesville campus anticipating potentially violent protests.

Alachua County previously sent the school an invoice year for $302,184 encompassing costs related exclusively to Mr. Spencer’s appearance. UF acknowledged in January paying that bill in full, but requested and received a refund afterwards, citing “internal miscommunication.”

The university has since agreed to pay roughly one-fifth of the amount listed on the initial invoice, The Sun reported.

“It wasn’t a negotiation,” county spokesman Mark Sexton told newspaper. “This was a unique experience for everyone involved and we will have a lot clearer path moving forward for these kind of events.”

The school was initially reluctant to host Mr. Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute think tank, but relented in the face of legal pressure.

“Although UF leadership has denounced Spencer’s white supremacist rhetoric, the University, as a state entity, must allow the free expression of all viewpoints,” UF said previously. “The university has repeatedly stated that it will not be affiliated with the event in any way, but as a public institution, UF is legally obligated to allow the expression of many viewpoints by external groups.”

The university previously said that it planned to spend upwards of $600,000 on Mr. Spencer’s appearance, though the school has repeatedly declined to release any figures related to the event, The Sun reported.

Mr. Spencer had been scheduled to speak at the “Unite the Right” demonstration last August, but the event and his appearance was cancelled after fights broke out between counterprotesters and participants including neo-Nazis and other white nationalists. One person was killed and more than a dozen others were injured later that day after a person identified as a “Unite the Right” participant drove an automobile into a crowd of counterprotesters, according to police.

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