“The University, through its current policy — intentional or not — imposes additional financial and administrative costs on groups wishing to host conservative speakers,” said Troy LeCaire ’17, president of the Cornell Political Union.
What is free speech? We often proclaim its importance, but rarely is it defined. Free speech is when everyone, yes everyone, has the ability to speak and be heard respectfully. Shouting down speakers we disagree with is antithetical to free speech. In an academic environment such as Cornell, it is of fundamental importance to engage in various debates and to allow for a variety of opinions.
ByTroy LeCaire, on behalf of the Cornell Political Union |
On Tuesday evening, the Cornell Political Union hosted Michael Johns, Sr., a conservative political activist and Tea Party leader, to speak to the body about President Trump’s ideology and his perspectives on American populism. He spoke mostly to explain, not to defend, and attempted to offer his perspective and confer an understanding of this brand of politics. We considered this talk valuable and necessary, and are proud that we hosted it. We also believe Mr. Johns was wrong — at the end of our event, we voted to reject Mr. Johns’ ideology on a vote of 40-14. When we first announced this event, it was met with a great deal of interest and excitement from the Cornell community.
“‘The forgotten man and woman will be forgotten no longer.’ I’ll explain tonight, 7:30 pm, Cornell,” tweeted Michael Johns, co-founder of the Tea Party movement and conservative policy analyst. Johns was scheduled to give a public talk, hosted by the Cornell Political Union, at Anabel Taylor Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening to discuss the merits of a Trump administration. However, on Monday, CPU turned the event private after speaking Cornell University Police Department about the intent of campus organizations and certain community members to protest the guest speaker. “I was told the Union could either pay $2000 in security fees to ensure the presence of CUPD officers at the event, cancel it altogether or make it private,” said Troy LeCaire ’17, co-founder of CPU. The public was kept in the dark as CPU refused to disclose further details about the event, which is open only to Union members and certain guests.
The event, although originally intended to be public, was recently made private per advice from Cornell University Police Department and is now open only to Union members and selected invited guests. The location of the lecture has been kept private and undisclosed even to attendees until only hours before the event.
The old adage — “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” — is not applicable in this case because some of the groups who believe the U.S. must defeat al-Assad are considered terrorists as well, Evangelista said, referencing the Kurds in Turkey as an example.
Prof. Elizabeth Sanders, government, discusses factors that have led to Trump’s emergence as the leading candidate of the G.O.P. primaries. Prof. Sanders labels Trump a demagogue reminiscent of George Wallace.