UF students protested a Republican politician’s visit in Fall from the Accent Speakers Bureau. Now, it is bringing a former Democratic presidential candidate to campus.
Andrew Yang will speak at the Curtis M. Phillips Center on March 16. Doors open at 7 p.m. and Yang will speak at 8 p.m., according to a Facebook post from the Accent Speakers Bureau.
Yang, an entrepreneur who ran as a candidate for the Democratic presidential primaries, dropped out of the race Feb. 11. Yang has started a nonprofit to promote the ideas he pushed for during his campaign, the New York Times reported.
Accent hosted Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle on Oct. 10 and hundreds of students protested the night they spoke. The pair were paid $50,000 in student fees. Emails later showed a Donald Trump re-election campaign official asked UF Student Body President Michael Murphy in September to bring Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle the following month.
Yang was invited to speak on campus because it is consistent with Accent’s mission to bring influential speakers to campus, Henry Fair, the chairman of the Accent Speakers Bureau, wrote in an email.
“We are excited for Mr. Yang to come to campus, and we hope that the Student Body is as well,” Fair wrote.
Students can pick up their free tickets in the Student Government suite of the Reitz Union between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and next Monday with remaining tickets available at the box office.
Despite concerns from the coronavirus, Fair wrote that as of now, the event is happening as planned.
Joel McCray, 20, said he was planning on attending the event. McCray is a member of the Yang Gang 352, a Gainesville group who supported Yang’s candidacy, and thinks it is great that Yang will speak at UF after the end of his campaign.
McCray, a UF chemistry junior, said he even used to be a Republican, but began supporting Yang. He said Yang seemed like a genuine politician who was willing to take part in informative conversations on either side of the political spectrum.
“The fact that he’s willing to talk to people on both the left and the right shows that he is not concerned about ideology; he’s concerned about data,” McCray said. “He’s willing to talk to anybody as long as they have good ideas.”
McCray said it seems like people have been more receptive to Yang coming to UF than when Trump Jr. was announced to be speaking and has seen most people be accepting of Yang’s visit.
“I definitely think that they are paying attention to what we’re saying, that we want more moderate speakers and that the people are finally starting to realize that,” McCray said.
The Accent Speakers Bureau announced Monday that Andrew Yang will speak at UF March 16.