“â€¦though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.”
Jan 11, 1956.
On March 31, 900 students, faculty and community members gathered in a Western Michigan University lecture hall to hear Pat Buchanan talk about immigration and the culture war. The conservatives on campus, led by Young America’s Foundation (YAF) supporter Matt Hall, had worked tirelessly to bring Buchanan to their campus. They had a track record of hosting and organizing many successful events featuring YAF speakers and convinced the school to provide them with a substantial portion of Buchanan’s honorarium. As in most cases though, YAF underwrote a portion of the fee because the school didn’t cover his entire honorarium. As the event approached, many leftists complained of the timing because it was scheduled on a day to “celebrate” Cesar Chavez. A city commissioner, faculty members and others all expressed their outrage that the conservatives would dare schedule a counter program to their events. This is a typical tactic of campus leftists. They always create an excuse in an attempt to cancel an event or silence ideas they dislike. They purport our events’ promotional materials to be “offensive” or that the event is held on the wrong date. These complaints only underscore the left’s insecurities. On most college campuses, liberal speakers and events dominate campus life and they want to keep their monopoly even if they trample on students’ free speech rights. When conservative speakers and their ideas are rarely heard on college campuses, why would the left claim to be threatened? After all, freedom of speech is supposedly embraced, valued, and taught in the halls of higher education! The left’s vitriolic response only indicates they want to indoctrinate, not educate. Every indication suggests students were eager to hear Buchanan’s ideas. Prior to the start of the speech, Hall and the other organizers brought in more chairs to meet the demand. There was an open question-and-answer session, but the left didn’t want “questions answered.” They want to intimidate and silence speakers. As Buchanan was answering a question describing neo-conservatives, a lone leftist ran up to the front of the hall and as he reached the podium, he doused him with salad dressing (see photos below). This attack caused Mr. Buchanan to cut the event short. This latest incident is included in a list of attacks on David Horowitz at Butler University, Bill Kristol at Earlham College and Ann Coulter at the University of Arizona. Campus security was present at both YAF lectures by Buchanan and Coulter, but in each case they refused to properly protect our speakers. At the Buchanan lecture at WMU, student organizers approached security asking them to move toward the front of the hall so they would be in a better position to react. Security refused. Following the attack, the conservative students restrained the protestor first, not campus security. In addition, the response from WMU administrators has been lackluster at best. Several WMU administrators were at the event, including the vice president of finance, the dean of students and the director of student activities. Not one campus administrator approached Buchanan to ask if he was OK or to apologize for the attack. The university president has yet to publicly apologize to Buchanan, although I am told a letter will be sent to his home. They have not made any calls for leftist professors and students to take free speech “sensitivity” training as they would if the same incident happened to a liberal speaker. They have helped create a climate of hostility to conservatives, and they refuse to take adequate steps to ensure this will not happen again. This weak response from the school only emboldens other intolerant leftists when they realize there will be no strong repercussions from their actions. After all, the two who attacked Coulter at the University of Arizona had their charges dismissed. Conservative activists must expose the left’s dirty tricks and demand leftist agitators receive the same punishments and penalties as any other criminal.