Speaker at UWS Brings Many Supporters, Protestors

SUPERIOR, Wis. — Matt Walsh, a speaker with conservative views was invited by a student group on the UW-Superior campus called Young Americans for Freedom, and while those in support of him sat inside listening to his message, those outside stood with signs to spread theirs too.

“Today we are protesting a speaker that we believe spreads really harmful and hateful rhetoric to the queer community and we just want to exercise our first amendment right and make our voices heard and let queer folks know that we are here for them and we support them and these are safe people that they could ever turn to if needed,” Emma Hellerud, a UWS student and protestor said.

Meanwhile, the group Young Americans for Freedom said it was their right to have their views shared in the same others can share theirs, too.

“Young Americans for Freedom are on campuses all across the country at different schools like here at UW-Superior and they’re our chapter affiliate, they really bring these speakers to campus, they host activism projects and were really here to support them and help bring conservative voices to campus,” Kara Zupkus, Spokesperson, for Young America’s Foundation said.

There was a large turnout for both sides of this event on Wednesday afternoon, with both parties hoping to inspire and encourage more people to join them.

“We wanted to do it here cause we believe this is the spot that make us the most visible for our supporters walking into the building and the speaker himself, and just really show that we are a community that supports and uplifts one another,” Hellerud added.

And while the event was sponsored by Young Americans For Freedom, their parent organization based out of the Washington D.C. area also came to support and hope to make others feel comfortable for what they believe too.

“It’s definitely going to be a great, successful event, were really pleased to see the turnout to see hundreds of people coming out to hear from him and hear from [yaf] it’s going to be a really great event. I think events like this really inspire them to be more comfortable in saying hey I’m a conservative and I believe this to see so many other hundreds of people really voicing their other opinions really inspires them to be more vocal,” Zupkus said.

Meanwhile UWS released a statement saying:

“While we understand that some may find Mr. Walsh’s views offensive, universities – especially public institutions legally bound by the first amendment – must welcome free speech and the expression of opposing views. University administrators have been working directly with students to ensure they are educated and equipped to engage in civil discourse.”

UWS has a freedom of expression policy that supports the first amendment. It also allows protests and demonstrations, but does not allow ones that become disruptive, which can be sanctioned if they do.

Categories: News, News – Latest News, Political, Wisconsin