Campus News

Controversial speaker to visit campus in October; anti-gun advocates plan protest

Young Americans for Freedom will host Katie Pavlich Oct. 10.

Image By: Brandon Moe

A conservative group on campus will host a controversial speaker to give a talk on the Second Amendment in October, and student activists are already planning to protest the event.

UW-Madison’s Young Americans for Freedom has invited gun rights advocate Katie Pavlich to speak on campus Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. Student activist group Cocks Not Glocks, which aims to “fight absurdity with absurdity” by carrying sex toys in opposition to campus carry laws, will lead a protest during the event.

Pavlich will speak on the right to bear arms and the use of guns for self defense. She is a journalist who has shared her perspective on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and Fox Business and currently serves as the news editor for Townhall.com. She has drawn criticism for her controversial far-right opinions, including from Cocks Not Glocks’ leader Katherine Kerwin.

“It is so important to protest this speaker because she has been brought to campus with the intention to divide our campus and not offer ideas, but offer rhetoric that will inflame the student body,” Kerwin said. “Her rhetoric is particularly decisive because of her assertion that rape would be prevented [if] women owned guns.”

But Young Americans for Freedom President Abby Streu refutes the claim that Pavlich’s ideas are dangerous.

“We are bringing Ms. Pavlich to speak on the right we have, as stated by the Constitution, to bear arms,” Streu said. “The fact that any amount of sexual assault happens is absolutely awful. We feel that if we educate people on their rights regarding self-defense, we can help potentially minimize this number.”

Although Streu disagrees with Cocks Not Glocks’ ideology, she said she supports the group’s right to protest.

“We believe that they have every right to wave dildos in the air in opposition to guns. We hope, however, that this protest remains undisruptive of our event, as we deserve the right to free speech and expression as well,” Streu said.

Kerwin plans to exercise this right to fight the presence of guns on campus and offer a way for students to do so as well.

“My [goal] for the protest is to provide a counter space for concerned students to come together and shed light on the absurdity of guns on campus with Cocks Not Glocks organizers.”

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