Conservative speaker coming to SUNY Oswego in face of outcry

OSWEGO, N.Y. – Conservative speaker Cherise Trump is set to appear on the SUNY Oswego campus next week, despite some student opposition.

Cherise Trump, who has no relation to former President Donald Trump, is the executive director of Speech First, a non-profit advocacy organization that supports free speech for students on college campuses.

Students who are against Trump speaking on campus say that she does not reflect the campus values of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The official Speech First website says, “The Biden Administration has proposed new Title IX rules that will once again open the door for universities to restrict speech more than they already do.”

“This isn’t just about her coming to speak,” said student leader and activist Tyler Johnson. “It’s about the campus administration, and the campus itself, priding itself on diversity, equity and inclusion practices, but allowing things to happen that are the exact opposite of what we promote.”

The issue for students who oppose Trump speaking on campus is that SUNY Oswego officials have no authority to allow the speaker to come to campus or not.  If the event were to be canceled, the College Republicans would have to cancel it themselves.  It does not appear that the group wants to cancel the event.

Student leaders met with the College Republicans on Wednesday night to discuss the issue of Trump coming to speak on campus.  After the meeting, the College Republicans said they believe both sides of the issue were heard, and misunderstandings on the topic were addressed.

In a statement from the College Republicans, they said, “When we chose Cherise, we actually expected some good reactions. Free speech is something we should all value as Americans and be proud of. And as a new org, we thought it could be something people on both sides can enjoy.”

Johnson spoke about the importance of students using their First Amendment rights to protest Trump coming to campus, but also says that the event should not be canceled, because then it would infringe on Trump’s First Amendment rights.

“By trying to cancel this event, we are infringing on Cherise Trump’s First Amendment right.  And the group that is hosting the event,” said Johnson.  “By trying to make the campus cancel the event, we are no better than they are and I think that a lot of students don’t understand the importance of that, and don’t understand that the campus can’t do anything.”

Johnson said that if students want to protest the event, they need to do it peacefully, and not “cross any boundaries of school policy, code of conduct, or legal boundaries.”

As of Friday, the event is still going on as planned.  Trump is set to speak in the Marano Campus Center room 132 on Wednesday, April 4, at 6:00 p.m.