Conservative student denied entry to Michelle Obama speech at university for wearing ‘McCain’ t-shirt
A conservative student was denied entry into a rally featuring First Lady Michelle Obama at the University of Florida on Wednesday because he was wearing a t-shirt in support of Republican John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2007 campaign for the White House.
Matt Pesek, the student, said he had a ticket for the event but was pulled out of the line by an Obama staffer who said the speech was for supporters only.
“I was waiting in line wearing a ‘Gators for McCain’ shirt when a guy [representing the Obama campaign] comes up to me to just intimidate me,” Pesek told Campus Reform. “[He then] asks me for my ticket saying… this is an event with only Obama supporters.”
Pesek said he even turned his shirt inside out and assured the staffer he had no intentions of disturbing the event.
“I just kept explaining that I just want to see Obama,” added Pesek. “[I] said I would even applaud for her.”
At this point, the Dean of Students, Jen Day Shaw, approached Pesek and reportedly told him that the Obama officials “can refuse entry to whomever they want” because it was a “private event.”
A university spokesman seemed to corroborate part of Peskek’s story on Tuesday confirming the Obama campaign was given complete control of the event and the crowd.
“The event was a ticketed, non-university function run by the Obama campaign,” University spokeswoman Janine Sikes added in a brief statement to Campus Reform.
Sikes stressed that “any UF officials attending the event attended on their own time” and denied that university officials or resources had been deployed towards the event. However, Pesek disagrees.
“They [the university] certainly advertised it to students… I didn’t hear about the rally from the Obama campaign. I heard about it from people at the university.”
Pesek points to an e-mail sent to the student body from the student government directing students to various Organizing for America locations to pick up tickets.
“The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for entrance,” read the e-mail. “To pick up your ticket, you can visit one of the following locations beginning Friday, September 14th, at 10 AM.”
Despite multiple calls and e-mails requesting comment, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign was not made available to Campus Reform.
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