Contention has erupted across the Cornell campus over what many students are calling a “fascist” event occurring this evening.
Michael Johns is set to speak at an event 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 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.
Just hours before the event, Johns tweeted, “‘The forgotten man and woman will be forgotten no longer,’” adding, “I’ll explain tonight, 7:30pm.”
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.
Troy LeCaire ’17, president of C.P.U., told The Sun that CUPD reached out to him Sunday night and told him that the event had been gathering a lot of attention on social media. Police raised issues over the security of the speaker and the people or protesters who might be present at the event.
LeCaire claimed that CUPD issued him an ultimatum.
“I was told the Union could either pay $2,000 in security fees to ensure the presence of CUPD officers at the event, cancel it altogether or make it private,” LeCaire said, adding that this was the reason for the change.
Earlier this afternoon, students passed around Valentine’s cards addressed to Michael Johns as a form of protest against the event. The “anti-fascist” cards shared messages such as “roses r red, violets are blue, Jeff Sessions is a bigot, and so r u ;).”