Neo-Nazi Rally to Back White Nationalist Student

November 20, 2017

The University of North Florida is preparing for a possible neo-Nazi rally today by supporters of a white nationalist student who has been suspended for posting photographs of himself showing his swastika tattoo, holding a gun and stating that if anyone from the campus chapter of Students for a Democratic Society should challenge him, he will "shut them down." He was suspended not for his views, but for the "shut them down" language, which combined with the photo of him with a gun is viewed as a threat.

The student is appealing his suspension, and the hearing is today. Local press reports have indicated plans for neo-Nazis to rally to back the student, and the university has moved the student's hearing to a building that is more secure than the original location.

John A. Delaney, president of the university, posted a message to the campus in which he said that the university expected the protest to be small, but that security measures were being taken. He also wrote that he understood how upsetting it has been for many students to see a fellow student who identifies as a neo-Nazi, and to hear of plans for the campus rally. "I wish I had a magic wand that could address all of that and could solve the historic problems of racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, etc. I really wish that we could take away the pain and fear," he wrote.

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