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Alachua County Seeks $302K from UF for Richard Spencer Event Security

The invoice from Alachua County includes charges for law enforcement, fire-rescue, court security and services by the county’s communication center.

Alachua County Seeks $302K from UF for Richard Spencer Event Security

The city of Gainesville is also meeting to discuss charging UF for security costs.

Alachua County is requesting more than $300,000 from the University of Florida to reimburse the cost of public safety resources used during a speech by controversial speaker Richard Spencer in October.

On Wednesday, Alachua County mailed UF a letter and an invoice seeking reimbursement for the cost of their public safety resources that were devoted to the Spencer speech. The total security costs, split between UF and other agencies, amounted to $600,000. The invoice from the county was for $302,184, according to The Miami Herald.

Mark Sexton, the communications and legislative affairs director for Alachua, says there is no due date for the reimbursement.

“It’s my understanding that UF approached the county and asked for resources to help and that there was an expectation of reimbursement,” says Sexton.

The letter and invoice were from Alachua County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson and were addressed to UF President Kent Fuchs.

The itemized invoice has two charges for law enforcement amounting to $260,494. Other charges include $19,518 for fire-rescue, $4,918 for jail costs, $1,425 for court security and $15,829 for services by the Alachua County Combined Communication Center, which includes 911 overtime pay and rented radios for public safety officers.

The city of Gainsville is also meeting on January 25 to discuss charging UF for security costs.

UF has denied multiple requests to provide costs and records for the event. In December, UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes wrote in an email that the university is exempt from supplying the records since Governor Rick Scott declared the event a “state of emergency”, reports The St. Augustine Record.

Spencer was originally scheduled to speak at the school on September 12 but UF officials chose to cancel the event, citing “serious concerns” about safety following the deadly weekend protests in Charlottesville.

As for Spencer’s October 19 speech, more than 2,500 demonstrators and hundreds of police officers stood outside the Phillips Center.

Spencer had to cut his speech short as his supporters were no match for the protesters who attended. Of the 700 seats in the Phillips Center, 456 were protesters.

The speech and subsequent protests resulted in five minor injuries and two arrests. A security guard for a member of the media was arrested just before the event on suspicion of carrying a gun onto campus. Another man was arrested and charged with resisting arrest without violence.

About the Author

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Amy Rock is Campus Safety's senior editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

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