Anna L. Peterson


Here's How One Ethics Professor Reacted When A Notorious Nazi Came To Her Campus

Richard Spencer's talk at the University of Florida led to violent protests — and a real-world lesson in moral quandaries.

Once in a while, life provides us with the kind of dramatic moral dilemma that even the most imaginative ethics textbook writer couldn’t think up.

My community — the University of Florida and the city of Gainesville — faced a dangerous and complicated series of dilemmas as a result of a visit from white supremacist Richard Spencer. It was Spencer’s first speaking engagement after his supporters participated in a rally that ended with one woman being killed and 19 people being injured in Charlottesville in August. Spencer was not invited by anyone at UF, but he rented a lecture hall in the performing arts center, as nonuniversity groups do all the time.

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