BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Auburn University’s failed, one-day fight to prevent a white nationalist from speaking on campus will cost nearly $30,000 in legal fees under an agreement approved by a federal judge.
School officials said they agreed to pay $29,000 in legal fees “to avoid more costly litigation costs” stemming from the university’s attempt to block Richard Spencer from speaking in a campus auditorium last month.
A judge approved ending the suit on Friday, court records show.
The money will go to an attorney for Cameron Padgett, the Georgia man who filed suit to reverse the school’s decision barring Spencer from speaking at Auburn.
Padgett, who called himself a libertarian interested in the free exchange of ideas, paid $700 to rent a room in the student union building for a talk by Spencer, a spokesman for the white nationalism movement whose appearances often draw critics.
Citing potential public safety concerns, Auburn reversed its decision and canceled Spencer’s appearance, prompting a lawsuit by Padgett on the day the speech was scheduled, April 18. A federal judge held a hearing in Montgomery and ruled against Auburn, resulting in the talk being held as planned.
Several hundred people attended Spencer’s appearance and three people were arrested outside the building during a clash between supporters and opponents of Spencer.
Sam Dickson, an Atlanta lawyer who represented Padgett, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.