Tuesday, April 9th, students and staff at the University of Connecticut packed the Student Union Theater to hear conservative speakers Charlie Kirk, Candace Owens, and Dave Rubin speak. Left wing counter protestors were present in large numbers, coming from communist, socialist, and anti-Israel backgrounds.
The UConn event was the latest event in Turning Point USA’s ‘Campus Clash’ tour. ‘Campus Clash’ is a series of events led by Charlie Kirk, president and founder of Turning Point USA, to talk about what it means to be a conservative.
Kirk talks mainly on the subject of free speech, free markets, and constitutional rights. What makes Kirk controversial is where he talks.
College campuses have been proven time and time again to lean left. Charlie Kirk brings ideas to these colleges that most students aren’t used to hearing. As Kirk says often, students on campus are not opposed to conservative views, they are merely not exposed to them.
“Never Once Have We Advocated for the Silence of Those We Disagree With.”
Tuesday’s protests showed exactly what kind of reaction students have to different ideas. Some attended to listen, some attended to disrupt the event, many attended to protest the event.
The counter protests forced the university to close down parts of the Student Union, now accessible to students and ticket-holders only.
“We need to allow people to speak freely without interruptions during events including invited speakers and members of the audience,” UConn TPUSA Chapter President Joseph Gatti said, “Preventing people from exercising their right to free speech goes against our identity as a university.”
Charlie Kirk began the event by talking about UConn professor Martha Cutter. Professor Cutter encouraged her students to reserve tickets, then not show up.
“You are telling students from your position of authority to lie, to do an act of deceit because you are afraid of other ideas.”
Dave Rubin also chipped in on Professor Cutter, adding that the professor would be doing her students a great disservice intellectually by ordering them to prevent people from attending.
The event had a question and answer section with members of the audience. The three speakers debated with member of the audience many topics.
Anna Holland, a fourth-semester political science major, said she was glad she attended the event despite the controversy surrounding it.
“Tonight was amazing,” Holland said. “I look up to them so much and their point of view is really refreshing to hear.”