Anger Over Man Wearing Swastika at U of Florida

January 27, 2017

A man wearing a swastika armband appeared at the University of Florida on Tuesday and Thursday, with his second visit setting off a sustained protest by students and faculty members who chanted their anger at him, The Gainesville Sun reported. The man stood silently as students said, "No more Nazis" (see video below). The Sun reported that the man, whom it did not name, was ruled incompetent to stand trial in 2013 on the grounds that he was mentally ill. After several hours, the man asked the university police department to escort him off campus. After he left the campus, two men in a pickup truck approached him and snatched his jacket with the swastika armband. Authorities are looking for the men.

Kent Fuchs, president of the university, issued a statement condemning the wearing of the swastika on campus. But he also said that the man's conduct was protected by the First Amendment. "Many people have contacted the university to ask that the individual be removed from campus," Fuchs said. "While I decry and denounce all symbols of hate, the individual, who is not a faculty, staff member or student, was expressing his First Amendment rights, and we could not legally remove him from public areas of campus."

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