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WKU Provost Bud Fischer responds to Kyle Rittenhouse to speak on campus


WKU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Bud Fischer sent an email to faculty and staff this morning in response to Kyle Rittenhouse speaking on campus tomorrow sponsored by WKU’s Turning Point USA chapter.

Fischer said he understands the range of emotions that have been shared on campus with a controversial figure coming to speak. 

“On one hand, allowing provocative speakers to share their message on a campus is perhaps the purest demonstration of a commitment to free speech in which a university can engage,” Fischer said. “On the other hand, many members of a campus community may find the viewpoints expressed at such events reprehensible.”

Fischer stated that WKU is committed to providing a campus experience that is inclusive of all viewpoints, even those difficult to accept or that some may disagree with. 

WKU is not legally permitted to cancel Wednesday’s event as a state-supported higher education institution. However, Fischer stated that legality aside, silencing controversial speakers on campus undermines the principle of academic freedom and is necessary for the advancement of knowledge. 

“Silencing such speakers may also unintentionally raise a speaker’s profile and increase media coverage for a voice that may otherwise have received less attention,” Fischer stated. 

“Universities should serve as bastions of intellectual inquiry, where scholars and students alike are free to explore a wide range of perspectives without fear of censorship or reprisal.”

Fischer stated that silencing controversial speakers sets a “dangerous precedent,” and would not uphold the free exchange of ideas.

Fischer encouraged faculty and staff to not act impulsive with anger or disruption, but instead to act in a civil and respectful manner. Fischer stated to use this event as an opportunity to educate students and become exposed to a multitude of ideas. 

“Our students are watching us, and whether we realize it or not, they are modeling their behavior after ours,” Fischer stated. “Whether to modify our own perspectives or to unmask and challenge unreasonable and hateful views, but always so that we can engage in discourse responsibly.”

News Reporter Maggie Phelps can be reached at [email protected] 

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