EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Known white supremacist Richard Spencer is set to speak on Michigan State University’s campus in March.
Before that happens, East Lansing community members who are strongly against his visit gathered Monday night to talk about what to do when he does come into town.
More than 100 people of all ethnicities, genders, religions and walks of life attended Monday’s meeting.
One of the women that spoke, and helped organize the meeting, Briana Ureña-Ravelo, says she noticed a sense of urgency among those who came to speak their mind.
“There’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of people that want to protect their community to show that Richard Spencer doesn’t represent them well,” she said.
Spencer is being allowed to speak at MSU as part of a deal that settled a lawsuit against the university.
The lawsuit claimed MSU violated the First Amendment by not allowing Spencer to speak on campus last summer.
Some at Monday night’s meeting, like J.D. Torok, spoke a lot about safety, and how they fear even Spencer’s presence on campus threatens theirs.
“We’re trying to throw together this because we don’t have a lot of time, it’s next month, and so we’re organizing as quickly as we can to get a good response and to make ourselves as safe as possible,” Torok said.
Others who showed up at the meeting, including Sarah Musson, a long-time East Lansing resident, say they want people in the community who may feel uneasy about Spencer’s visit to know they’re not alone.
“This is not us, this is not our town, we are..to love everybody, all inclusive, and to really show that we are here for them and that we’re not going to accept that hate,” Musson said.
As part of the deal MSU made to end the lawsuit, Spencer will be speaking in a remote area of campus on a day that the student body is on Spring Break.
University leadership says they took those measure to make sure students are as safe as possible during Spencer’s visit.