Michigan State Police say they initially planned to keep the two groups separated, but protestors had migrated from their original location to a lot where attendees were parking. A few Spencer supporters turned around instead of trying to get in. Bottles and rocks were also thrown during the skirmishes.
Police had blocked off the venue, which is away from the university's main campus, in hopes of avoiding such fighting.
Spencer, whose speeches usually contain anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant and racist vitriol, is the same man whose scheduled appearance at the University of Virginia resulted in the death of a protestor and sparked nationwide outrage.
MSU Police Capt. Doug Monette and dozens of law enforcement officers were on hand to monitor the event and the crowd it drew. The event, organized by interfaith leaders, drew more than a hundred residents and local elected officials who aimed to combat Spencer's divisive message by emphasizing the Lansing-region's dedication to love, peace and diversity.
"He is full of hate - that's all", she said.
"There's nothing Richard Spencer stands for that is good", he said.
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Spencer's visit occurred during MSU's spring break, which meant a majority of university students were off campus at the time the protest took place.
Media representatives for the university could not immediately be reached for comment.
A federal judge ordered the two sides into mediation. Spencer said at least 150 tickets for the event were handed out, but less than 50 people attended the meeting.
Richard Spencer coined the term "alt-right, ' and popularized the idea of a future state exclusively for white people".
Monette said his number one concern was maintaining safety on campus.