Former Donald Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski is scheduled to speak this week at the University of Chicago, but some angry students are trying to get him banned because he “normalizes bigotry.”
Lewandowski was invited to participate in a seminar with Washington Post reporter Robert Costa to discuss the Trump campaign and what lies ahead for the Trump presidency. The discussion is part of University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics series, “America in the Trump Era.”
A group of angry students sent at letter to the Institute of Politics director, former Obama adviser David Axelrod, urging that he disinvite Lewandowski and to refrain from inviting any other “Trump surrogates” to participate in the “American in the Trump Era” series. White House press secretary Sean Spicer recently took part in one of the seminars.
Inviting Lewandowski to speak on campus, the students argued in the letter, would send “a positive signal to white supremacists that they are welcome here,” and would expose “the most vulnerable members of our community to even greater risk.”
The letter was jointly authored by U of C Resists, UChicago Socialists, Graduate Students United, and Students Working Against Prisons. The university’s commitment to freedom of speech, they argued, ought not apply to people such as Lewandowski, and others “who incite hatred and violence against refugees, immigrants, and minorities.” The university should be compelled to prevent him from speaking.
“Far from being obliged to welcome Lewandowski, we are obliged not to,” the students wrote. They are also planning a “Bigotry is not Normal” demonstration to protest the event, and “take a stand against this normalization of bigotry.” Flyers have been circulating around campus announcing that the university is “under attack,” and that letting Lewandowski speak would be a victory for “fascism.”
Steven Edward, the executive director of the Institute of Politics, has said the decision to invite Lewandoski was not rooted in a desire to promote fascism, but rather to expose students to “guests who could provide insights into the administration’s thinking and approach to governing.”
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