Columbia Republicans allege discrimination ahead of Prager talk

The Columbia University College Republicans (CUCR) is accusing the school of trying to “silence” Dennis Prager’s upcoming talk by imposing a new ban on livestreaming. 

Prager will return to his alma mater on Wednesday to deliver a speech on “How I Found God and Judaism at Columbia,” and up until last week, Prager’s educational nonprofit PragerU had plans to livestream the event to its nearly three million followers. 

Though CUCR President Ari Boosalis told Campus Reform that the club had previously obtained permission for PragerU to livestream, he said Columbia changed course last Tuesday and emailed him at 9:06 a.m. revoking permission.

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While Columbia claims that it prohibits third-party livestreaming, no such regulation appears to exist. In fact, precedent contradicts this, as Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) live-streamed CUCR’s events last year featuring Hermain Cain and Dinesh D’Souza

“In hosting these other events, the University was more than happy to help us livestream the event and even had signs indicating where to find the livestreams as well, but things have changed now,” Boosalis wrote in a recent press-release to CUCR’s mailing list. 

“Given all this information, we believe that the University is using its voice to silence Dennis Prager who is a moral voice within our party,” Boosalis added. 

Campus Reform reached out to Columbia for comment, but no officials responded. 

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In a Monday interview, Boosalis expressed exasperation at the school’s inconsistent policies. 

“I have no clue why this event has met so many roadblocks,” he told Campus Reform, adding that he believes “some administrators are less willing or not wanting to work with us due to our political leanings.” 

“We hope the University realizes that treating our club with the same respect as any other club should be a given,” Boosalis added. 

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Devon Mirsky, director of PragerFORCE (PragerU’s student ambassador program), told Campus Reform that she didn’t see any reason why Prager’s talk couldn’t be livestreamed. 

“Because the event is only open to students, live-streaming the event will allow that larger audience to hear the inspirational message about how Dennis Prager found God at Columbia,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity.” 

Prager will speak Wednesday evening. Columbia University officials have yet to respond to inquiries from Campus Reform, but this article will be updated if and when the school provides a statement. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen