KTTH OPINION

Rantz: UW Seattle activists say their First Amendment rights threatened by speaker they don’t like

May 7, 2024, 3:59 AM | Updated: 5:47 am

Image: University of Washington activist students argue conservative commentator Charlie Kirk shoul...

University of Washington activist students argue conservative commentator Charlie Kirk shouldn't be allowed to speak on campus because it jeopardizes their First Amendment rights. (Photo courtesy of Turning Point USA)

(Photo courtesy of Turning Point USA)

Activist students at the University of Washington’s (UW) Liberated Zone inexplicably argue that conservative commentator Charlie Kirk should not be allowed to speak on campus because it jeopardizes their First Amendment rights.

Kirk’s Tuesday event, part of his Live Free Tour, is generating concern from some activists. In a digital flyer, flagged by The Stranger, some students argue that Kirk’s speech puts them at risk.

“The University of Washington is endangering students,” according to the flyer, complaining UW is “hosting him without yards of the Liberated Zone that was set up by students in support of a free Palestine.”

The flyer asks people to “tell the administration to cancel this event and keep students who are practicing their 1st Amendment rights safe.” It provides contact information for UW president Ana Marie Cauce, her chief of staff and her assistant.

Is Charlie Kirk event at University of Washington a threat to the UW Liberated Zone?

The Charlie Kirk event poses no threat to the illegal UW Liberated Zone. Ironically, it’s far-left activists that traditionally create threats to First Amendment rights on college campuses, including the UW.

Progressive and anarcho-socialist students typically attempt to block students from attending on-campus events that feature conservative speakers. They don’t seem to understand that First Amendment rights apply to everyone. It’s also not protected speech to utilize the so-called “heckler’s veto,” where they shout down and interrupt events in order to stop the guest from speaking. The reason these students are masked is because they intend to break the law when disrupting events. They do not want to make it easy for police to find out who is responsible.

There’s also irony that UW Liberated Zone activists might get agitated by Kirk’s appearance, as reported by The Stranger. The entire existence of the encampment agitates Jews.

As the Liberated Zone has grown to over 150 tents, student activists have upped their aggression toward those they label Zionists. They harass and stalk people they think do not agree with them. Prof. Stuart Reges recorded a handful of activists cosplaying as security at the UW Liberated Zone as they tried to stop him from documenting what was happening at the encampment.

That the student activists feign victimhood by the mere notion that Kirk will speak nearby says more about their tolerance than it does about Kirk or the students who invited him.

Concerns over Charlie Kirk and bathroom access

Sofia Schwarzwalder is an editor of the school’s newspaper The Daily. She reports members of the autonomous UW Liberated Zone have expressed “concerns” about Kirk’s appearance. She did not elaborate.

But she also reported that the UW administration is involved in negotiations with the antisemitic encampment activists. They are represented by UW United Front for Palestinian Liberation. They’ve had at least three separate conversations since Friday on a number of issues. United Front is demanding that UW cut financial ties with Boeing, but the administration rejected the students.

The Daily reports the student activists have had extensive conversations about gaining access to portable toilets and hand washing stations. But the talks broke down. Organizers reportedly walked out, after the administration declined to offer them 24-hour access to buildings so that they can use bathrooms.

Online, United Front hasn’t complained about bathroom access. They focus their complaints to Israel, posting propaganda from Al Mayadeen news, a pro-Hezbollah outlet called “Iran-aligned.”

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