Ole Miss employees go rogue, 'unilaterally' cancel conservative speaker event

Two employees at the University of Mississippi on Thursday abruptly cancelled the venue a conservative lecture scheduled to take place on Nov. 13.

The university took quick action and relocated the event.

Two University of Mississippi employees decided Thursday to cancel the venue for a lecture by conservative speaker Elisha Krauss, claiming that the space is not available to be used by “partisan or openly ideological student groups.” 

According to Young America’s Foundation, Ole Miss journalism professor Curtis Wilkie told the student group that it could not use the Overby Center for the scheduled lecture, which had been already approved, claiming that the school did not allow the space to be used by “partisan or openly ideological student groups.”

YAF reported that Wilkie wrote in the email, “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.”

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However, quickly after YAF published its article, the university responded in a tweet, stating that the decision was made by university employees without asking any administration official, and re-inviting the speaker to campus.

@ElishaKrauss We are attempting to get hold of you. This decision was made unilaterally by two individuals on our campus without consulting with members of the university administration,” Ole Miss tweeted. “As soon as university leaders learned about this decision, they moved promptly to re-invite you and continue to try to reach you directly to confirm your upcoming appearance on campus.”

A university spokesperson told Campus Reform that the event has been relocated to the Ole Miss Student Union, and will still take place on November 13.

According to YAF, the university did not cite any policy that blocked partisan groups from using the space.

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However, YAF pointed out that partisan speakers have, in fact, lectured in the space before.

On Nov. 5, the Overby Center held an event with a Cato Institute speaker, Christopher Preble. 

The former chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Stuart Stevens, and David Baria, a former Mississippi Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate also spoke at the Overby Center in April.

Jake Bennett, a student at Ole Miss, told Campus Reform that the university made the correct decision by quickly relocating the event so it could still take place.

“It was encouraging to see the administration take such quick action to correct the mistake made by the School of Journalism,” Bennett said. “This is a great decision for future speakers on either side of the aisle and will only boost the attendance for Elisha Krauss’ event.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @asabes10