Maria Pardo-Vera didn’t know what to expect as she lined up to hear political commentator Ana Navarro.
The 21-year-old said she decided to go at the last-minute with her roommates, hoping to be inspired. The event, which took place in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., was held as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Navarro was paid $20,000 for speaking, said Kendra Blandon, the director of the forum. About 400 students attended.
Pardo-Vera, a UF psychology senior, said he related to Navarro’s conversation about the diverse Hispanic community and believing in your principles.
“I thought it was really interesting how she said to stand up for what you believe in,” she said. “I feel like I can believe what I believe and have my truths and do what makes me happy.”
The event was funded by Student Government and was also sponsored by the Bob Graham Center, UF’s College of Journalism and Communications, the Center for Latin American Studies and the Women’s Student Association, Blandon said.
Blandon said she has been planning the forum since the beginning of Spring. By Summer, Navarro was their choice.
“We chose her because we really wanted to showcase intellectualism and professionalism in the Hispanic community,” Blandon said.
Alberto Barcenas, the assistant director of the forum, said the event informed students about issues within the Hispanic community, like under representation in media and disparities between economic classes in the U.S.
“The goal of the event is to basically have a conversation,” Barcenas said. “We’re trying to have an open dialogue hopefully between students and Ana Navarro herself.”
Navarro spoke on various topics, including her life, DACA, Puerto Rico, the Second Amendment, economics, immigration and Richard Spencer.
Navarro didn’t want to speak about Richard Spencer, who will speak at UF on Oct. 19. She said that giving him attention was the best way to spread his message.
“Do I have to give him the time of day?” she said. “I hate the fact that we’re spending 10 seconds of the students’ time talking about this guy.”