UW students protest speaker, Dennis Prager
A conservative figure, Dennis Prager, was invited to share his views on the University of Wyoming campus by a group of students. The Wyoming Chapter of Turning Point USA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that felt Prager’s message on how socialism makes people selfish could be educational to students on campus.
Laramie County Republican Party wrote on their Facebook page: "When Turning Point USA of UW approached the LCGOP about hosting Dennis Prager at their campus, they received our full support. As a community, we were moved to see young people so passionate about freedom of speech and exchange of ideas on a college campus.”
Turning Point USA says that socialism is topic not often mentioned in college curriculum, so Prager's point of view would be beneficial to the students on campus.
Before Prager arrived to Laramie other students who didn’t agree tried to put a stop to the appearance. Those students believed that the $10,000 cost of the event shouldn’t be paid for by their student fees and it was wrong of the student government to approve those funds. The group also believed the speaking event would only further spread hateful rhetoric to different communities that exist in Wyoming.
Students who were opposed organized a peaceful protest which arrived half an hour before the event. It remained silent because the students believed it reflected their peaceful attitude and willingness to explore new avenues toward a productive conversation.
We are told some students involved in the protest did attend the speaking event to make their voice heard in the Q&A segment.
The University provided an increased Police presence to make sure everything remained civil.
Public Relations Coordinator, Chad Baldwin says they were happy to host an event like this to provide diversity on the campus. The University brings in many speakers throughout the school year to provide many different opinions on things like politics and science to give every student the best experience. Baldwin says the University encourages students to hear everything they possibly can and make decisions themselves on what they want to believe. He adds giving their students a wide array of experiences and perspectives is what a higher education is all about.
Nearly 500 tickets were given to students for free and 100 others were sold to the general public.