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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Do you ever just want to waste $50,000, but don’t feel like dousing it in gasoline and setting it on fire? Don’t feel like funding emergency blue lights? Don’t feel like helping student organizations that are struggling with funding?

Well, I guess you can do what Student Government did and invite Donald Trump Jr. to campus.

I’ve read a lot of very passionate comments on the internet about liberal and conservative bias of the speakers that the ACCENT Speakers Bureau brings in. I hear that college students need to focus on “facts, not feelings,” so I suppose we can do just that by taking a look at who has been invited to come speak over the past couple of years.

Looking back through all of ACCENT’s old Facebook events, on one side you have Donald Trump Jr. (2019), John Kasich (2019), Carly Fiorina (2017), Ben Shapiro (2017) and Ron Paul (2013).

On the other side, you have Kal Penn (2017), former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (2014) and former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon (2013).

Somewhere in the middle is the State Senate candidate debate with Keith Perry and Rod Smith (2016).

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that, in the last couple of years, a lot more money from student fees has gone to people generally considered to be conservative.

To be frank, I don’t mind for the most part because I understand that many of these people have been invited to share perspectives not often heard, and to debate ideas worth being debated on a liberal college campus.

But if you asked me what I thought of Trump Jr. coming to campus, I’d probably respond by saying I wish Ben Shapiro was coming back for round two instead.

I get that universities are supposed to be like Candyland for free speech and stuff, but I really take issue with Trump Jr. coming to campus. 

Compared to some of the other conservative speakers SG has brought to campus, Trump Jr. has little to sell in the marketplace of ideas. No one would ever mistake him for being an intellectual or a public servant. Trump Jr. is also frequently criticized for promoting false information and conspiracy theories. 

We know his family, organization and father’s administration does really shady stuff with money, yet we’re forking $50,000 over to Trump Jr. and an adviser for the president’s re-election campaign.

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Let’s be frank: is the Trump Jr. event really going to be an intellectual exchange of thoughtful discourse? Is it really going to change any hearts and minds? Or are we chucking $50,000 down the drain to invite two hyperpartisans on campus to preach to the choir of those willing to attend?

Say what you might about Trump Jr. coming to town, but keep in mind that this is just the continuation of a recent trend. If you see someone crying victim about anti-conservative bias in ACCENT speakers, make sure to let them know how things really are. The last thing any of us needs is more fake news being spread around.

Zachariah Chou is a UF political science senior and serves as the Murphree Area Senator.

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