Cruz will visit the campus on April 11 to record an episode of Verdict, the political podcast he hosts with Michael Knowles, at a hotel on campus by the school’s William F. Buckley Jr. program in partnership with the Young America’s Foundation’s Irving Brown Lecture Series.
The Buckley program, a student-run group which promotes political programming, strives to ‘promote intellectual diversity on Yale’s campus,’ according to the Yale Daily News.
But some students have called into question the program’s decision to invite Cruz to campus, with freshman Jamie Nichols telling the Yale Daily News: ‘I feel like, in this case, it’s better to not give him the platform, given his actions and bringing him to campus kind of affirms those actions.’
Students told the newspaper that they expect there to be protests at the April 11 event, which has already been sold-out as hundreds of people are expected to attend.
Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, pictured on April 4, was invited to speak on the Yale campus on April 11 by the school’s William F. Buckley Jr. program
He and Michael Knowles, right, are set to record an episode of their podcast Verdict at the campus on April 11
And Buckley President Kevin Xiao, a junior at the ivy league school, has already found himself defending his decision to invite the Texas senator.
‘Yale students rarely have the opportunity to hear from speakers like Sen. Cruz, and listening to different perspectives in good faith fosters a healthy and lively discourse both on campus and beyond,’ he told the Yale Daily News.
He said students will have the opportunity to ask questions, and the senator has said he welcomes questions from those who disagree with him – noting that one’s disagreement does not make it any less important for students to hear new perspectives.
‘In fact, such differences of opinion remind us of why we have free speech, especially at institutions of higher learning where the mission is the cultivation and creation of new knowledge,’ Xiao wrote in an email to the Daily News.
‘Students should be able to hear different voices, engage with them in good faith and decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree.
‘Only through open and honest discussion can we grow and better understand our own values and beliefs,’ he added.
Some students at the Ivy League school (pictured) say it should not provide Cruz with a platform
But opponents of the conservative senator say he should not be allowed to speak on the campus, given his questioning of transgenderism and his support for the theory that the 2020 election was ‘stolen.’
‘That some perspectives diverging from those held commonly may have value, does not mean that perspectives have value because they diverge from the majority,’ senior Naomi D’Arbell Bodabilla, of Texas, told the newspaper.
‘This is especially worth remembering when the majority in question is the majority of people who do not enable a right-wing insurrection, which Ted Cruz did.’
Carly Benson, a sophomore from Texas, also said: ‘I think he has to understand that people are not going to be that excited about him coming.
‘I feel like he’s probably excited for people to hate him because then he can be the victim … he gets to be like “Oh I went to Yale, and look what the radical left did,’ she alleged.
And Zaharaa Altwaij, a freshman, expressed concern that giving the senator a platform could legitimize ‘polarized’ and ‘to some groups, problematic ideas.
‘Although I do believe there is value in having a voice that diverges from many student perspectives, I do not believe that Ted Cruz should be that voice,’ she said.
‘I believe that there are other individuals with divergent political beliefs who may be better suited for speaking to Yale students, since their beliefs do not implicate racial harms or possible anarchy.’
For his part, Xiao said he expects that some students would protest the event, and that he respected these students’ right to free expression ‘peacefully and in a manner that does not disrupt the event.’
Nearly 120 Yale students were filmed yelling as they protested a conservative speaker’s views at a debate last month
The protesters berated the speaker, chanting ‘protect trans kids’ and ‘shame, shame’ throughout the law school building
The panel featured conservative Kristen Waggoner who was threatened with, ‘I’ll fight you b*tch,’ among other profanities
But just last month, nearly 120 Yale students were filmed yelling at Kristen Waggoner, a conservative from the Christian of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) nonprofit during a debate with a liberal humanist about freedom of speech.
Video from the incident shows the students threatening the guest speakers and staff at a free speech event where Waggoner successfully defended a Supreme Court decision of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding ceremony.
The protesters then berated the speaker, chanting ‘protect trans kids’ and ‘shame, shame’ throughout the law school building after police officers escorted Waggoner and her debate opponent out of the building.
Students and professors claimed the protesters were so loud that they disrupted classes, exams and faculty meetings.
Ironically, however, the purpose of the panel was to illustrate that a liberal atheist and a conservative Christian could find common ground on free speech issues, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Both the ADF and the American Humanist Association took the same side in a 2021 case involving legal remedies for First Amendment violations that was presented to the Supreme Court, but protesters were outraged by the ADF’s successful Supreme Court defense of a Colorado baker who refused to make a gay wedding cake.
A member of the Federalist Society, which hosted the panel, said they selected Waggoner and progressive Monica Miller from the American Humanist Association to demonstrate how a conservative Christian and a liberal atheist could were able to find common ground on issues of free speech.
‘It was pretty much the most innocuous thing you could talk about,’ he alleged.
Students and professors claimed the protesters were so loud that they disrupted classes, exams and faculty meetings
However, the nearly 120 demonstrators still managed to cause havoc amid the event, violating the university’s free speech policies which prohibit any protest that ‘interferes with speakers’ ability to be heard and of community members to listen.’
When law school professor Kate Stith reminded the protesters of the policy, she was met with chants and raised middle fingers, to which she replied: ‘Grow up.’
The students hit back, arguing that their disturbance was execution of ‘free speech’ and continued to scream at the panelists.
Eventually, police were called to the auditorium to safely escort the speakers out of the building.
Three members of the Federalist Society allege Heather Gerken, Dean of Yale Law School, contacted authorities for additional security, however the law school declined to comment on the request.
As protesters left the event, one yelled ‘F**k you, FedSoc’ as others began to stomp, shout, clap, sing and pound on the hall walls.
Yale Law School officials later issued a statement claiming the rabble-rousers had been ‘spoken to’ about their threatening behavior and added they were ‘in serious conversation with students about our free speech policies, expectations, and norms.’