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GUEST ROOM | Mitch McBride: In His Own Words

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.

Protests at Michael Johns' speech in Rockefeller Hall on Tuesday evening. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor)

Students Protest Michael Johns Lecture

Barred from entry, about 15 students gathered outside Rockefeller Hall on Tuesday to protest a private lecture by Tea Party leader and former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, Michael Johns. Cornell Political Union announced on Monday that the event — titled “Trumpism Can Make America Great Again” — would be closed to the public after Cornell Police told the union it either had to pay $2,000 in security fees, cancel the event or make it private because of security concerns, according to Troy LeCaire ’17, the group’s president. Johns is a co-founder and a leader of the Tea Party movement and has notably served as speechwriter for former President George H.W. Bush. His endorsement of President Donald J. Trump and outspoken conservative statements have sparked controversy in the political sphere. Read The Sun’s coverage:

Following Security Concerns, Cornell Political Union Makes Controversial Event Private

Students Protest Private Lecture, Calling It a ‘Safe Space for White Supremacy’

Valentine’s Dinner With a Tea Party Leader: Michael Johns Defends Trump

Michael Johns, co-founder of the Tea Party, after his speech in Rockefeller Hall on Tuesday Evening. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor)

Controversial Cornell Political Union Event Turns Private After Protests

Michael Johns spoke at an event on Tuesday hosted by Cornell Political Union — a bipartisan group that invites lecturers to speak on political topics — in a lecture, titled “Trumpism Can Make America Great Again.” The event, although originally intended to be public, was made private per advice from Cornell University Police Department and was open only to Union members and selected invited 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. Johns is a co-founder and a leader of the Tea Party movement and has notably served as speechwriter for former President George H.W. Bush.

GUEST ROOM | Why We Hosted Michael Johns

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.

EDITORIAL: Make It Public

“‘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.