Davidson News

Davidson News

A scheduled Rittenhouse speech at WKU raises questions

In 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse, who subsequently claimed he was trying to stop the destruction of property, brought an AR-15-style gun to Kenosha, Wisconsin, for a Black Lives Matter protest.

At the age of seventeen, Rittenhouse murdered 2 demonstrators and injured a third. In 2021, he was cleared of five counts based on his claims of self-defense. Since then, he has lectured at many national gatherings, supporting conservative politics and gun rights.

On March 27, Rittenhouse will give a free speech in Bowling Green, which is being organized by the nonprofit Turning Point USA chapter at Western Kentucky University, which supports conservative ideas.

“The Rittenhouse Recap” is not associated with WKU, however, it will happen at the Downing Student Union at 7 p.m. DSU allows any student organization to use the area.

“WKU Director of Media Relations Jace Lux informed the media in a statement that although the university permits, promotes, or approves of the opinions of those people, it permits organizations to bring guests to campus as part of its commitment to free speech.”

A request for comment was not immediately answered by WKU professor Mark Doggett, who provides advisory services to the Turning Point USA organization.

The WKU chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council issued a statement denouncing the occasion and stating that it aims to “support hate-filled rhetoric and contentious commentary inspired by bigotry and misinformation.”

The statement says, “We decline to give up that Kyle Rittenhouse is a killer who remains a risk to those demanding truth and justice. His actions resulted in tragedy. It is not only disrespectful to have him speak on our campus, but it also goes against our inclusive and respectful values.”

A person using the handle “Concerned Student” created a Change.org petition that, as of Thursday afternoon, has less than 2,500 signatures calling for the dissolution of WKU’s Turning Point USA chapter.

“Our campus must be a place of safety and security for everyone, as a student in Western Kentucky,” the petition stated. “But our campus feels more and more unsafe because of the Turning Point USA student organization.”

Rittenhouse will speak at the University of Memphis on March 20 after speaking at East Tennessee State University on February 8.

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