Free Speech Prevails at UWSP

While there was an attempt at the University of Stevens Point to shut down a “NRA University” event last week, free speech has prevailed as the event was reported a success. Matt Kittle of the MacIver Institute reported that posters for the event were continually being removed, however, despite the actions of those against the event, Amelia Heup, chairwoman of the College Republicans and Media Trackers correspondent, told Media Trackers the event was a success.

Kittle reported last week that posters in an effort to promote a “NRA University” event were being taken down by those opposing the group. On the NRA website it describes the event as, “a two-hour training seminar for college students interested in learning more about NRA, the Second Amendment, gun safety, legislative threats to gun rights and the gun control debate.” Kittle reported that Heup, “estimates at least 40 posters promoting the event have been removed from sites around campus.”

Beyond taking down posters, Kittle also reported that a former UWSP student posted on Facebook names and email addresses of “racists at school” which included more than 100 individuals, including students and faculty members who are not members of the UWSP College Republicans.

However, despite the clear intimidation tactics from those against the event, Heup told Media Trackers that the event was a success:

 We had great response, no dissenters. Final head count was about 112-113. The crowd included many students, a couple faculty members and just community members who wanted to get more information about it.

It was an overwhelming presence compared to what we were expecting. We didn’t know how many would show up because of the negative publicity. Overall it was a very successful event.

Heup also told Media Trackers that the Student Government Associated reached out to the College Republicans, and released a letter defending the organization and their 1st amendment right to display posters that follow school requirements which read:

The Student Government Association of UW-Stevens Point wishes to publicly declare our support for every recognized student organization and their right to promote their organization. Furthermore, recognized student organizations are absolutely allowed to advertise their events, even events discussing topics with which some students may personally disagree. We call upon our fellow student leaders, classmates, and the entire campus community to respect everyone’s first amendment rights, which include freedom of speech, and freedom to peaceably assemble.