Team coverage: Community reacts to Neo-Nazi holding controversial speech at Auburn University

FILE -- Richard Spencer (CBSN)

AUBURN, Ala. — The Auburn Police Department and Auburn University urge the community and student body to practice restraint ahead of a controversial speaking event.

Alt-Right leader and self-proclaimed Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer plans to speak somewhere on the Auburn University campus at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. Auburn University released the following statement about Spencer’s speech, which will go forward as scheduled:

“The university will abide by the judge’s decision that Spencer be allowed to speak on campus tonight. We continue working closely with law enforcement officials to ensure the safety of the campus community.”

Spencer had originally paid for speaking space and security through the university, but the school canceled his talk citing safety concerns to the campus.

Spencer later posted on social media he plans to speak anyway citing his free speech rights.

A statement by Auburn police says in part:

Our community has always been the standard of conduct during times of celebration as well as during times of tension; we have confidence that today will be no different. The Police Division is tasked with ensuring the safety of participants, as well as those in protest, of today’s visit by a controversial activist.  We fully intend to allow all in attendance to “peacefully” voice their comments, concerns, thoughts, etc.

Auburn University also acknowledges Spencer may make an appearance on campus Tuesday, but says school officials are not sure on the specifics of Spencer’s plans.

Both police and the school remind the public threatening and riotous behavior will not be tolerated. Safety and security are the main concerns.

Protest areas will be established adjacent to the event, if it occurs, for those who wish to assemble and display opposition. APD urges everyone to be alert of surroundings at all times and to report threatening or dangerous behavior.

Please call Auburn Police Division at 334-501-3100 if you wish to report an incident. In any emergency, call 911.

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