Plans for a campus lecture featuring conservative commentator Ian Haworth to take place at the University of North Texas have been thrown into jeopardy by administrators’ efforts to restrict attendance and relocate the event to a building on the outskirts of campus.
The public university’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter has been working diligently for weeks to organize a successful and well-attended event.
The chapter’s reservation request for an event space located inside the centrally located and heavily trafficked University Union building was initially approved, though administrators warned that they would limit the number of tickets distributed and prohibit alumni and community members from attending.
On Tuesday, UNT YAF Chairman Nicholas Sullivan was notified by administrators that the event had been moved to the Gateway Center, which is located on the southwestern corner of campus, far away from most academic buildings, residence halls, the library, and the fitness center.
Because Haworth, who frequently lectures on the topics of free speech, big tech overreach, and being pro-life, is considered by the university to hold views that “may not necessarily align with some beliefs of our UNT campus community,” the administrators moved his lecture as far away as possible from other events taking place on the night of April 20.
This action by the university is clearly viewpoint-based. If other events are allowed to take place in the popular University Union building, they cannot justifiably relocate YAF’s event simply because it will feature a conservative speaker.
So long as Haworth and the students are comfortable with the security measures that were in place, the event should be allowed to take place as originally planned at the Union – not forced into a desolate corner of the university.