The initially cancelled speaking event by Elisha Krauss at Ole Miss, went on without a hitch on Wednesday after a venue change from the Overby Center to the Student Union on the Ole Miss campus.
Krauss, a conservative contributor to the Daily Wire spoke on the importance of free speech. Her event was sponsored by the Ole Miss chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). The lecture was rescheduled to the student union after the controversy.
“You never know what will happen on university campuses, and we are glad we could still have an event like this,” Krauss said. “It’s comforting to see that Ole Miss is still a place where free speech is welcome.”
According to the Daily Mississippian, in her speech Krauss linked the changing state of free speech on college campuses to recent criticism faced by professional comedians for offensive jokes, like Dave Chappelle. She made mention of what she called “victim culture” while also defending the rights of churches and religious schools who refuse to hire people whose lifestyles don’t line up with their beliefs. On the flip side, she defended the rights of people who disagree with those decisions, to protest.
Just a week ago, Curtis Wilkie, a professor at the Ole Miss School of Journalism and Overby Fellow canceled the event that was to take place in the Overby Center. Wilkie cited an unwritten policy that does not allow ideological groups to speak in the venue. The Ole Miss administration quickly overruled the decision to cancel Krauss. They reached out to her and rescheduled the venue in which she would speak on the 13th.
The original email from Wilkie read:
“Young Americans for Freedom is described as an ‘ideologically conservative youth activism organization.’ From my many years as a political reporter, I know that the group is strongly linked to the Republican Party. So I feel we have to say ‘no’ to you, too.”
Wilkie later penned an email submission to the Oxford Eagle to explain his actions.
“I made the decision alone, the same way I’ve made other decisions about the use of the Overby Auditorium without consulting anyone in the University Administration,” Wilkie’s letter read. “From the beginning of the Overby Center in 2007, those decisions were made on a general, unwritten understanding I had with Charles Overby.”
In this post Wilkie called the initial scheduling of the speaker a ‘misunderstanding’ by fault of the Overby Center. He believed he was receiving the request from the Lott Public Policy Leadership program, which the Center has worked with in the past.
“What I then learned Thursday, that the program was being advertised with a flier with political overtones, we found that the program’s sponsor was the Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative group that for many years that has been identified with Republican causes,” Wilkie stated. “I felt we had no choice but to say that they could not use our auditorium. In my message to them, I apologized, expressed my hope that they could quickly find another venue on campus and added that I welcomed their activity on campus. I never ‘disinvited’ the group from campus.”