Clemson’s chapter of Turning Point USA announced that conservative political commentators Tomi Lahren and Brandon Tatum will be speaking at the Madren Center in early April at a “back the blue” rally, showing support for police officers.
Lahren is currently a Fox News contributor and has previously worked for pro-Trump super PAC Great America, and had her own show on One America News Network from 2014 to 2015. She currently has her own show on FOX’s streaming service, FOX Nation.
Tatum is a lesser known conservative commentator. After going undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft, he became a police officer and eventually became a national leader of TPUSA.
The rally, scheduled for April 8, has already attracted significant attention from Clemson students.
Michaela Knox, senior criminal justice and sociology major, is unhappy with Lahren’s invitation to campus, saying that she is working to try and stop her from coming. “Her tweets and opinions go against the diversity and inclusion that Clemson wants to achieve,” said Knox.
The Clemson College Democrats released a statement Thursday evening about the announcement expressing their disappointment with the event.
“We are committed to creating a more equal, fair and inclusive environment on our campus,” read the statement. “Statements made by Ms. Lahren, especially those concerning the Black Lives Matter movement, are divisive and hateful.”
Some students have taken the event as a negative indication of Clemson’s current political atmosphere.
“Tomi Lahren at Clemson does not make me feel disrespected and unappreciated. The organization that invited her, as well as the culture allowing her visit, does,” said Summer Shaw, junior management major and former student body president candidate. “Her visit, more than anything, confirms the failings of Clemson to progress our community towards justice and equity.”
Lauren Spottz, president of Clemson’s TPUSA chapter, did not immediately respond to The Tiger for comment.
Other students like Brodie Brant, freshman finance and economics major, are concerned with the slippery slope that comes with censoring particular viewpoints and speakers.
“This is a university where we’re supposed to hear other opinions and views and dialogue about them,” said Brant. “What [people] don’t seem to realize is that as soon as it’s OK to silence one view there’s nothing stopping it from happening to theirs.”