Sharpton to speak at Western

Abbey Brown

A chance meeting in a New York hotel has turned into a major campus event.

During Government Department Head Saundra Ardrey’s visit to New York for the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving parade she spotted Rev. Al Sharpton at her hotel.

“I just struck up a conversation with him and at the end invited him to campus,” she said. “Two days later he called and said he would like to come to campus to speak.”

Sharpton, a Democratic presidential hopeful, will be addressing the university at 7 p.m. Tuesday in DUC Theater. Ardrey said Sharpton will likely speak about civil rights issues like affirmative action and about domestic policy and America’s involvement with Iraq.

Sharpton will also participate in a breakfast with community leaders Wednesday morning and will then be available for one-on-one conversations with students from 10 to 11:45 a.m. Wednesday in Grise Hall room 235.

Sharpton will also be participating in a community luncheon at noon on Wednesday; students interested in attending should contact Ardrey.

Ardrey said she thinks Sharpton decided to come to Western to help him get exposure for his ideas. Also, one of his “pet projects” is empowerment of African-American youth and college students.

“The purpose of a university is to introduce students to many and varied ideas and opinions,” Ardrey said. “Whether we agree or disagree, an educated person should understand, and know, varied opinions. This is an opportunity for students to hear his ideas, dreams and hopes for a better America; an America that is inclusive of all people.”

Security is of a special concern for Sharpton. He recently had to move a lecture scheduled in Texas because of threats from the Ku Klux Klan.

“We are going to provide security while he is here and make sure everything goes smoothly,” campus police Chief Robert Deane said. “We do that for any person that comes to campus if they choose to have it.”

Reach Abbey Brown at [email protected]