"It's very tense and upsetting", Wes Li, a 20-year-old philosophy student, said of the speech. The university banned an extensive list of items, including torches, masks, weapons and athletic equipment that could be used as a weapon.
Previous speeches from Spencer on college campuses have sparked protests, including at Texas A&M in December and Alabama's Auburn University in April.
Alt-right organization the National Policy Institute, of which Spencer is president, is paying the $10,564 to rent the UF space. University administrators had initially wanted to deny Spencer the chance to speak but ultimately had to relent.
Alligator Brewing says it will give a free draft beer for every two reserved seating tickets to the event people bring in, with the goal of creating vast empty swaths of seats in the arena.
UF finally granted their request after the National Policy Institute threatened to sue the school.
"Everyone is welcome at #SpenceratUF", he tweeted before the event Thursday.
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Fearing a repeat of clashes between far-right demonstrators and anti-fascist protesters, security was tight for Spencer's speech, with police flooding the streets and Florida governor Rick Scott declaring a state of emergency in the area. Spencer said, describing himself as a "dissident intellectual".
The filing was made the same day as a planned speech by Spencer at the University of Florida, where officials prepared a large police and security response.
He called Thursday's event as a victory, proof "that we are persevering".
University President Kent Fuchs has urged students to snub the speech. He spent part of the day at the Roth Family Jewish Community Center in Orlando to highlight the $1 million in security funding for Jewish day schools that are part of his 2018-19 budget. It said it will spend more than $500,000 on security.
But in a climate in which the conversation is focused on affordability, ROI and the public burden of higher education, framing opposition to allowing these individuals on campus is an incredibly savvy move which will catch the attention of the same legislators who seek to push through bills to protect free speech above all.
"The one thing that comes out of this, though, is it is prompting a great discussion around race and religion and the value of diversity of that on a university campus", Fuchs said.