Request #17-439

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request pursuant to the North Carolina Public Records Act, N.C.G.S. Chapter 132, et seq.

This request concerns the attempt by Richard Spencer, the National Policy Institute, or persons acting on their behalf, to reserve a room or otherwise speak at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which was denied or cancelled. These events were widely covered in local, national, and international media outlets.

I request a fee waiver. The instant topic concerns a matter of public controversy. FIRE is a non-partisan and non-profit organization seeking the instant records for a non-commercial purpose; namely, the dissemination of information concerning government affairs.

To the extent that any records may be exempt from disclosure under the law, I request that your institution exercise any available discretion to disclose the records. The records at issue relate to the institution’s decision to prohibit the appearance of a controversial speaker on the basis of security concerns, notwithstanding potential First Amendment concerns. Decisions to restrict speech on the basis of safety should be made with utmost transparency, lest government actors be given broad latitude to restrict speech based on public fear — and with that latitude, the potential for abuse.

I request the following records:

  1. Any documents, emails, or correspondence sent to or by Richard Spencer, the National Policy Institute, Cameron Padgett, Preston Wiginton, or any person purporting to act on their behalf (hereafter cumulatively referred to as “Spencer”).
  2. Any contract, agreement, or instrument signed by Spencer or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill which concerns Spencer.
  3. Any document reflecting any assessment, research, consultation, or analysis on which your institution based its decision to cancel or prohibit an appearance by Spencer, including any document reflecting any “consultation with UNC Police and local and state law enforcement agencies who have thoroughly assessed the risks such an event could bring to Carolina” as referenced in the university’s August 30, 2017 statement.
  4. Any document reflecting any research, investigation, findings, assessments, surveillance, or other records maintained by the UNC Police which relate to or reference Spencer.
  5. Any documents produced in response to the Daily Tar Heel’s August 28 request (made by Tyler Fleming) or in response to Tyler Kingkade’s August 31 request, together with any documents created as a result of those requests, or through efforts to research and respond to those requests.
  6. Any communications or correspondence sent to or from any media outlet concerning Spencer.
  7. Any communications or correspondence concerning Spencer with persons employed by (or by law enforcement agencies associated with):
    1. Texas A&M University
    2. Pennsylvania State University
    3. University of Florida
    4. Auburn University
    5. Michigan State University
    6. Louisiana State University
    7. University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Please note that these requests should in no way be construed to include a review or search of email accounts, websites, or other forms of data or document retention which are controlled by students, alumni, or faculty members, nor by governmental or advisory bodies controlled by the same.  Any search should be limited to documents held by the administration of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and/or its staff members acting in an administrative capacity.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if we can be of assistance in clarifying or narrowing any of these requests.


August 31, 2017 via web


None Assigned


Adam Steinbaugh





Point of Contact

Public Records Office

Request Closed   Hide Public

New documents or requested information have been posted to your request. The documents are being provided to you in accordance with the North Carolina Public Records Act.  This request has been fully processed and is closed.




The Public Records Office

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

October 19, 2017, 9:52am
Document(s) Released to Requester Public
2017.08.31 _ Steinbaugh _ Response 10.19.2017.pdf
October 19, 2017, 9:52am
Document(s) Released Public
2017.08.31 _ Steinbaugh _ Response 10.19.2017.pdf
October 19, 2017, 9:52am
Request Published Public
August 31, 2017, 3:41pm
Request Opened Public
Request received via web
August 31, 2017, 1:12pm