College defends decision to host Venezuelan officials

In a statement obtained by The Claremont Independent, Scripps College’s administration defended inviting two Venezuelan diplomats last week to speak about their totalitarian government’s  “grassroots initiatives.” 

This semester will be the second in a row that Scripps has invited Venezuelan officials to whitewash the country’s economic and human rights woes, with pro-Venezuelan regime speakers and a Venezuelan consul-general speaking last semester as well.

Despite the Independent pointing out in an editorial that Scripps refused to allow this publication to invite conservative speaker Andrew Klavan, Scripps has maintained that it invites speakers in an effort to “create an opportunity for dialogue.”

In an email statement, Carolyn Robles, the college’s interim executive director of marketing and communications, told the Independent that “Scripps College faculty often invites speakers to campus to augment course readings, create an opportunity for dialogue, and explore traditional and non-traditional perspectives on current and historical events.”

“The administration stands behind faculty members’ ability to sponsor these events as an expression of academic freedom and to encourage students to engage in the critical analysis of ideas and narratives that these speakers provide,” Robles continued. In events both this semester and last, exclusively pro-regime speakers have been invited to engage the students.

Robles pointed out that the college has brought conservative speakers to campus before through its Malott Public Affairs Program—a conservative speakers series—however, the program has not invited a speaker since November of 2016, nearly two years ago.

“The College offers additional opportunities to bring coursework to life and to explore complex social, political, and economic issues through programs like the conservative speaker series Malott Public Affairs, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in November 2016 with political commentator Norm Ornstein.”

The statement did not answer the Independent’s inquiry about whether or not Scripps intended to disinvite the Venezuelan diplomats, given widespread criticism by students and the general public. Four years ago, a similarly negative public sentiment led to the disinvitation of conservative columnist George Will.

The full statement from Scripps College reads below:

This article was originally published in The Claremont Independent, a conservative student newspaper affiliated with the Leadership Institute’s Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished here with permission.

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