Socialist students protest Bush speech

Protesters chanted 'racist, sexist, anti-gay, Mr. Bush, go away' and can also be seen on video repeatedly striking an effigy of the former president.

A Purdue spokesman told Campus Reform that 'Free speech and inquiry is encouraged on our campus.'

Protests erupted on December 6 at Purdue University in response to the University President, Mitch Daniels and former budget director for the 43rd US president inviting former President George Bush to speak on campus.

The protesters chanted “racist, sexist, anti-gay, Mr. Bush, go away” and can also be seen on video repeatedly striking an effigy of the former president.  

Others shouted that “the war on drugs is a war on people.” 

[Related: University-sponsored event protests conservative speaker]

The protest was planned prior to Bush’s speaking event.

On December 4, the Young Democratic Socilaits of America chapter announced on Instagram that they were holding a protest, saying “No rehabilitation of war criminals!! Let Bush know he is not welcome here.” 

The post also contained an announcement for a “teach-in,” where the YDSA chapter screened a documentary called “Why We Fight,” “a 2005 documentary by Eugene Jarecki, which showcased a period perspective of the relationship between the Iraq war and its connection to the military–industrial complex.”

A group off campus known as the Greater Lafayette Democratic Socialist of America (GLDSA) also pushed for the protest. GLDSA made an announcement on their webpage to “Protest Imperialist George Bush and Mitch Daniels!” 

The GLDSA group also published an official statement that they would “protest this disgusting attempt to legitimize the disastrous and deadly presidency of George Bush, and Mitch Daniels’ central role in it.” 

The statement concludes by saying, “We call on those opposed to war, opposed to U.S. imperialism, and opposed to violence, racism, and nationalism to join us in protesting the warmongers George Bush and Mitch Daniels.” 

At the request of President Daniels, Purdue respond told Campus Reform the following: 

“Having a tiny group of protesters — in this case less than one-tenth of one percent of our student population — nearby while thousands filtered into Elliott Hall of Music for the Presidential Lecture Series event with President George W. Bush did not reflect badly on the university. To the contrary, it allowed us to clearly demonstrate our commitment to freedom of expression. Purdue University protects the rights of even the smallest groups or organizations and allows them to express their viewpoints.” 

[Related: Purdue President reaffirms free speech in wake of Mizzou, Yale controversies]

A Purdue spokesman told Campus Reform that “Free speech and inquiry is encouraged on our campus.” 

President Bush discussed his pastime of painting portraits, which has helped him deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Purdue Exponent.

He also addressed the debate surrounding the Patriot Act and how it handles security as well as restricts civil liberties. 

All the parties mentioned in the story have been contacted for comment. This story will be updated accordingly. 

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article quoted Purdue as saying “less than one percent” of the student population protested. The correct quote was “less than one-tenth of one percent,” and the piece has been updated accordingly.