By Johnna Ossie
Twenty-two-year-old Chance David Baker was shot and killed by Portland Police on St. John’s Street in Portland on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 18. Reports say Baker purchased a rifle-style pellet gun from a pawn shop, Coastal Trading & Pawn, in Union Station Plaza and shortly after police received calls that a man was screaming and pointing a gun at cars. Baker was killed on the sidewalk outside of the Subway while witnesses looked on. He was transported to Maine Medical Center where he died from a gunshot wound to the forehead.
Baker was shot and killed by fourteen year police veteran, Sgt. Nicholas Goodman. This is not the first time Goodman has used deadly force in his career. In 2008, Goodman shot and killed a 48-year-old man in a traffic stop when he was dragged 300 ft down the road in the man’s moving vehicle. The man died later at Maine Medical Center from gunshot wounds. The incident was ruled a justifiable homicide.
Baker’s friends, as well as staff from Portland’s Preble Street Teen Center where Baker spent time, expressed shock and grief at his death. Baker struggled on and off with homelessness, and reports say that his family, who live outside of Maine, had not heard from him in several years. Many could not believe that the young man they knew was the same young man witnesses say was shouting and waving what may have appeared to be a rifle, but which later turned out to be a pellet gun.
Local activists have demanded that the Portland Police Department (PPD) start wearing body cameras immediately after the incident. Before the shooting, the PPD had planned to start outfitting officers with body cameras in 2019.
“Witness reports are not completely consistent, and it’s far too soon to engage in speculation. But one thing is clear: If the incident had been recorded by police body cameras, we wouldn’t be so dependent on inconsistent eyewitness accounts,” reads a petition by local group Progressive Portland. “In the wake of this tragedy, the city should move that timeline up and include the purchase of body cameras in this year’s budget.”
Later in the week, a group of roughly twelve protesters disrupted a ceremony honoring Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck. The protesters stood with their arms raised over their heads and can be seen on video speaking to Sauschuck. In a video released by WMTW, a protestor can be heard asking, “How come you are silent when black people are killed?” Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling called the meeting to recess and the protestors exited to the steps of City Hall. As the protestors left the building, one person can be heard saying “Good job, murderer,” as she walked past Sauschuck. They could be seen outside chanting “Black Lives Matter,” as Sauschuck exited the building.
At a conference the next day, Sauschuck said he was “disgusted” by the “politicizing” of the fatal shooting and by the calls that PPD officers immediately begin to wear body cameras.
On Friday, a quiet and saddened crowd gathered in Monument Square in remembrance of Baker. They held candles and flowers as friends and former coworkers remembered Baker as a funny, kind and generous young man and mourned his loss.
Amanda Nobbe, a 26-year-old Portland resident and Baker’s former boss at Nickelodeon Cinemas, spoke about the two years she worked with Baker, noting how hard he worked to improve his life and how much passion he had.
“I watched him secure housing, get a second job, and work forty hours or more every single week,” she said toward the end of the vigil ceremony. “Life didn’t give Chance a lot of opportunities, so he made his own. He had so much joy and made everyone around him smile…Everybody deserves a chance, everyone deserves opportunities. If someone is asking you for a hand up and you can give it, then reach out your hand.”
By Julie Pike
While Rep. Larry Lockman spoke in Hannaford Hall on what he calls the “immigration crisis,” Muna Adan, a sophomore political science major, and other USM faculty and staff members brought a group of students and community members together to have a constructive conversation about free speech on campus.
In the Woodbury Amphitheater, Adan and Professor Ronald Schmidt served as co-moderators at the event. They encouraged the audience, composed of students, faculty, staff and community members to engage in a discussion about freedom of speech and hate speech.
This was the first event of a future series called Candid Conversations. The topic of this event was Campus Speech in an Age of Political Polarization. Adan, who is credited with the original idea of the event, stated that the idea was to have a space to allow staff, faculty, students and community members to come and engage with one another on different topics.
Adan noted that recent events have created a divide between students on campus, and she wanted to bring the community back together.
“There has been this divide between conservative and liberal students,” Adan said. “I’ve noticed that there has been this sort of opposition between them and I felt that it would be effective to start an ongoing moderated forum that allowed students to discuss controversial issues in a constructive manner.”
USM faculty and staff helped Adan launch the event. Schmidt agreed to help her run the event and others in the future. Adam Tuchinsky, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, helped Adan obtain a space for the event, as well as obtain food and other supplies.
“Muna’s idea was to foster campus discussion about issues that students feel deeply about,” Schmidt stated. “These conversations don’t often happen in class because they may not be relevant to the syllabus or [may be] time consuming.”
To start off the discussion, Professor Dan Panici from the Communications and Media Studies Department spoke about the legal history of free speech debates on college campuses. The first 15 minutes of the event included mostly faculty and students from student government speaking. After that, a discussion involving other students took place.
Schmidt emphasized that the idea for the event was for the audience members to be able to engage in a thoughtful discussion about campus speech, not for the event to be run by faculty members
“The idea behind this is that students are having conversations and faculty would be there more as a resource,” Schmidt stated. “We struggled with how to set up the space so that students wouldn’t assume that the faculty, or who[ever]was sitting in the focus area, would be giving a presentation.”
Adan stated that she believed the event went well. Approximately 20 to 30 people attended, with others going in and out of the event. While it took awhile for students to become active in the event, they were still able to get a good conversation going, as Schmidt stated.
“After we got into it people spoke and they gave their varying sides on the issues,” Adan stated. “It was important because we understood that there was this disparity among students, but then people were able to understand where the other side was coming from. It shows people that even though we’re all different, we can still understand where the other person comes from.”
About an hour into the discussion, a group of people who were protesting the Lochman event came into the amphitheater. Schmidt stated that after they came in the meeting naturally shifted in tone.
The protesters played loud music as they walked into the event and began to become involved with the discussion as well, sharing their own views on campus speech.
“From my understanding of what they were protesting about,” Adan stated, “they didn’t like the idea that there was another event happening. They wanted us to all join together in solidarity.”
While the protesters did interrupt the conversation, they also provided their own point of views to the discussion, which is one of the goals Adan had in mind for the event: for students to feel comfortable sharing their views.
“I thought it was important that those voices were heard. A lot of the things that they said were things that were important for the people that came to the event to hear, because that’s how people were feeling,” Adan said. “They were expressing their opinion and people go about doing that differently.”
Even though the event came to an end after the group of protesters came in, Adan and Schmidt considered it a success and will continue to host similar events in the future. The goal is to have a bi-weekly event to allow people to talk about a variety of topics, in a safe and constructive manner.
“Some of the goals that I had in mind [were] that it would be a place for students to be challenged on their stance on big issues as well as an opportunity to hear a point of view that they may not have heard before,” Adan stated.
Adan and Schmidt are in the midst of planning their next event. Through the use of suggestion boxes, social media and online polls, Adan is getting feedback from those who attended on what important issues they would like to have a discussion on. She is working with several school departments to sponsor upcoming events.
“The most important part of these events will be to provide a space where people can come together and learn from one another,” she said.
The same service issues will occur as in the original note.
On Sat, Feb 18, 2017 at 4:51 PM, Garret Peirce wrote:
> Work for today is compete on this issue although there is further work to
> address in the near future. At this point all services are restored on
> this span.
> On Sat, Feb 18, 2017 at 2:23 PM, Garret Peirce wrote:
>> Be advised , the maintenance had issues and investigation has been
>> The listed services [...]
address in the near future. At this point all services are restored on
On Sat, Feb 18, 2017 at 2:23 PM, Garret Peirce wrote:
> Be advised , the maintenance had issues and investigation has been ongoing.
> The listed services may be intermittent until the issue is resolved.
> On Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 1:08 PM, Andrew Henry wrote:
>> OTT will be conducting emergency fiber maintenance tonight beginning at
>> 11:30pm and concluding by 5:00am tomorrow morning [...]
The listed services may be intermittent until the issue is resolved.
On Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 1:08 PM, Andrew Henry wrote:
> OTT will be conducting emergency fiber maintenance tonight beginning at
> 11:30pm and concluding by 5:00am tomorrow morning (2/18). This maintenance
> will impact the following sites:
> MPBN Portland – loss of service
> MPBN Lewiston – loss of service
> Bowdoin College – loss of Bangor leg, service should remain operational
> over Portland leg
On Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 3:30 PM Brandon Glenn wrote:
> Where: USM, Portland
> When: Feb 19, 2017 7 AM
> Expected Duration: 1hr
> Scope: 25 Bedford Street (DFM)
> We will be performing network maintenance that will impact data
> services at 25 Bedford Street, the DFM building. Please plan accordingly.
> Networkmaine Contact Info:
> NOC 561-3587
> Local/Campus Contact Info during this window of work:
> NONE / Unknown at this time
OTT will be conducting fiber maintenance in the Bar Harbor area. This will
affect all fiber-served MSLN and MaineREN sites in that region, including:
College of the Atlantic
AOS 91 School District (MDI HS, etc)
Town of Bar Harbor
Each of these sites will experience a 30-60 minute outage at some point
during the maintenance window. Note that Jackson Labs, College of the
Atlantic, and MDI Biolab should retain some service through a backup link. [...]
When: Feb 21, 2017 11:30pm
Expected Duration: 5hrs
Scope: Diminished Internet/WAN services
During this maintenance, all services travelling south beyond Biddeford will be impacted.
Internet services will remain available through other paths although the overall capacity will be diminished. Users should not notice any impact.
The JacksonLabs link to CT will realize an outage for the duration of this event. [...]
11:30pm and concluding by 5:00am tomorrow morning (2/18). This maintenance
will impact the following sites:
MPBN Portland – loss of service
MPBN Lewiston – loss of service
Bowdoin College – loss of Bangor leg, service should remain operational
over Portland leg
Colby College – loss of Portland leg, service should remain operational
over Bangor leg [...]
By Sarah Tewksbury and Krysteana Scribner
On Thursday, Representative Larry Lockman spoke at USM in his presentation, “Alien Invasion: Fixing the Immigration Crisis” at 7:00 p.m. in the lecture hall located inside of the Abromson Center. The political climate was tense as community members gathered both in opposition and in favor of the conservative speaker’s visit to the Portland campus.
Before the Event: Protests and Political Tension
There was a presence of Maine GOP members and leaders at the event. Among them was Maine GOP Officer, Barbara Harvey, who greeted attendees at the door of lecture hall. Thirty minutes before the event was to take place, members of USM Future began a march from Payson Smith and traveled around the campus to the Abromson Center. Members of the group were chanting, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”
At the same time, two men stood outside of the building holding a sign that read, “Secure our border.” One of these men, Robert Casimiro, is a Veteran who lives in Bridgton, Maine. He claimed that he has been arguing for a more secure border since 9/11 and believes that a lot of protesters who oppose Lockman’s ideas have their “minds made up” and he finds it difficult to talk to them to share opinions.
“I’m not against anybody,” he stated. “I think it’s appalling when people are prevented from engaging in a discussion of viewpoints.”
Before the event, individuals also tabled behind the Young Americans for Freedom and College Republicans information station inside Abromson. One of these individuals, who has chosen to remain anonymous, stated that protestors needed more attention and gratification because “nobody paid attention to them as kids.”
Lockman Takes the Stage in Abromson for Immigration Talk
Inside of the lecture hall, the crowd was restless and had a sense of anticipatory tension as USM’s Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Nancy Griffith, took the stage. She began the event by saying that USM supports academic freedom and freedom of speech, further adding that USM is committed to teaching students “how to think, not what to think.” She strongly urged all audience members and speakers alike to refrain from hate speech or protesting behaviors.
Next, Benjamin Bussiere stood at the podium and introduced Rep. Larry Lockman by briefing those in attendance on the background of Lockman’s career and life successes. With the audience clapping loudly, Rep. Lockman approached the stage.
“Let’s talk about how we got to where we are today,” he stated in regards to what he deems is an invasion of illegal immigrants. He went on to provide the staggering number of taxpayer dollars that go towards welfare assistance.
According to Rep. Lockman, “the burden for Maine taxpayers is about $40 million each year” in order to pay for illegal immigrants’ social welfare. According to Rep. Lockman, $1.7 million in Portland alone is diverted to an account reserved for giving welfare assistance to illegal immigrants.
“The vetting process for immigrants and refugees in this country is badly broken,” he stated as whoops came hurling out of the audience. “This problem is not unique to Maine.”
Half-way through the speech, Lockman referred to Bowling Green, Kentucky as evidence towards his argument that individuals who enter America illegally can cause great harm to the U.S. He called Portland a “harboring haven,” and stated to the audience that the illegal immigration issues has “life or death consequences for Maine people.”
Lockman went on to talk about Freddy Akoa, a man who was beaten to death in his own apartment on Cumberland Avenue in August 2015. He expressed his disappointment in the media coverage of Akoa’s death and the consequences for his attackers. “Those killers,” he paused, shaking his head, “should have been deported long before they beat Freddy Akoa to death.”
“Frankly, I’m stunned at the utter lack of journalistic and professional curiosity that’s been on display here,” said Lockman, referring back to the story of Akoa’s death. He stared over at the media section of the event seating, as someone in the crowd shouted “Bad media,” which prompted snorted laughter.
He also briefly discussed his desire to change the structure of the state as well, specifically in regards to a bill he was trying to push through the senate. According to the Portland Press Herald, this bill, titled L.D. 366, would require the state and local governments to comply with federal immigration law and “withhold state funding from cities that provide a haven for illegal immigrants.”
Yet, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine stands in opposition to the bill, and “oppose anti-immigration legislation,” on the basis of potential racial profiling that could also occur. At this lecture, Lockman encouraged audience members to become involved in the passing of his upcoming bill. “We cannot afford to offer assistance to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen,” shouted Lockman, in which clapping followed.
Questioning Period Leads to Obvious Political Divides
During the questioning period, members of the community, from both ends of the political spectrum, shared their backgrounds, comments and questions. To begin the questioning period, a young woman who identified herself as a social worker from the area said that the “real crisis in Maine is elder care.” For what seemed to be comedic relief, she sang a line of a Neil Diamond song, singing, “We’re coming to America.”
The questioning period saw heated discussions, shouts and arguments between members of the crowd and individuals trying to voice their opinions and ask questions over the two microphones. Each individual who stood to spoke identified themselves – some were lawyers, other students, and other speakers identified themselves with titles such as taxpayer and foreign student.
Bryan Dench, a USM law school alum who has been practicing law since 1975, gave his opinion on Lockman’s proposed bill during the questioning period. Lockman thanked him for the “free legal advice.”
A Maine taxpayer, Lynn W., said that she is “sick and tired of paying for able bodied people,” in reference to immigrants and refugees in Maine who are on welfare because they are not legally allowed to work.
“I’m discouraged now and I want to know how we protect the taxpayer in times like these,” she said.
“We have elections every two years and we need to clean house,” stated Rep. Lockman in response to her statement, “[Constituents] need to exert maximum pressure on representatives. We tend to go whichever way we’re being pushed the hardest.”
A member of USM’s Student Government Association challenged Lockman, asking, “Why are you still here?” She argued that if she had made any of the controversial statements that Lockman has been recorded having said, she would be asked to leave the U.S., referencing Lockman’s heinous quote comparing a woman’s right to pro-choice with a man’s ability and right to force a woman to have sex with him.
Owen Yao, a USM student from China, expressed his frustration at the division in the community and in the U.S. and asked Rep. Lockman how all individuals can come together as Americans. Lockman responded by saying, “We all need to play by the same rules. If you want to be an American, you have to swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.”
The Free Press reporters observed that those in support of Lockman were predominantly Caucasian individuals – both young and old. In addition, the people rallying behind his beliefs with their whoops and cheers had no affiliation with USM at all, but were instead community members. One speaker, who did not provide his name, stood up to speak and accused Lockman of telling the version of each story that fit his argument and “left out key facts in order to gain a shock factor and increase support” for his bill.
Najma Abdullahi ended the questioning period with a bold statement, saying, “White men are the most dangerous demographic in the U.S.” Abdullahi asked Lockman, “How do you deal with white fragility?” he responded by saying, “next question.” While this legitimate question went unanswered, other sides of the political spectrum were prepared to argue with one another, but didn’t seem willing to listen to one another.
After the event, people rallied both inside and outside the Abromson Center. Protesters were not open to commentary, but referred media outlets to read the Portland Racial Justice Congress statement to the event, which was posted on Facebook. “As we face the rise of fascism and white nationalism, which now has a seat in the White House, we intend to build a bigger and bolder resistance,” the statement reads.
The Free Press will follow up if more information arises
When: Feb 19, 2017 7 AM
Expected Duration: 1hr
Scope: 25 Bedford Street (DFM)
We will be performing network maintenance that will impact data services at 25 Bedford Street, the DFM building. Please plan accordingly.
Networkmaine Contact Info:
Local/Campus Contact Info during this window of work:
NONE / Unknown at this time
By: Sarah Tewksbury, Staff Writer
Mahmud Faksh, a USM professor of political science, has called the Syrian Civil War the “greatest tragedy of the century.” The Syrian Civil War has had a global impact, triggering a massive refugee crisis, and has affected all corners of the world. In Portland, two USM students, cousins Dalia Muayad and Deena Raef, have close ties to Syria.
Both born in the U.S., Muayad and Raef are aspiring dentists, and though their futures look bright today, they have both experienced their fair share of darkness due to the war. Because of their bonds to Syria, Muayad and Raef understand how the war took hold and has developed since 2011.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in response to the 2011 Arab Spring protests calling for his removal from office, repressed Syrian citizens violently, ultimately leading to the conflict known as the Syrian Civil War. The war has been a proxy war for world powers and has resulted in at least 470,000 deaths, according to the Syrian Centre for Policy Research.
The Syrian Civil War has displaced millions of people, something Muayad and Raef both understand on a personal level. Their family members and friends have had to leave the country in order to find safety and stability. Some Syrians want to leave but have nowhere to go.
“A lot of the people don’t have anywhere else to go to and they don’t have family outside of Syria, so they feel like they cannot leave and instead have to stay in Syria where they stay at risk for dangerous situations,” Muayad said.
Spending all vacations and breaks from school in Syria visiting their family; the girls feel a deep, emotional connection to the country. With an aunt currently in Aleppo and their grandparents in Damascus, Muayad and Raef are aware of the conditions of major cities in Syria and the ways that fighting forces have altered life in them.
“My aunt who lives in Aleppo and is not in the eastern part of the city, so she is fine,” Raef said, “but even though she is in the safe part of the city, the electricity and water, it keeps cutting out.”
Atrocities committed by the Assad regime have also created deep divides among the Syrian people. Groups of close friends and families have been severed by political ideology based on which fighting groups they support. Raef spoke about the divisions within her own family and how they have affected familial relationships..
“It’s really sad for me because when the war started, I have a lot of family members who sided with the regime. So there’s this big split within my family. Half of my dad’s side is with Assad,” Raef said. “I’m against the regime and I got into some arguments with them. The media outlets they follow are completely different from mine so we do not see eye to eye.”
Since the inauguration of President Trump, U.S. media outlets have largely focused on the executive branch’s actions. International news has pushed the Syrian conflict to the sidelines, causing viewers who do not have a direct tie to the situation to forget about those affected. The war continues to carry on and refugees continue to be displaced.
It has been almost six years since the start of the Syrian Civil War and a devastating amount of damage has been done. Those connected to the situation are looking to move forward, to find ways that they can help to support the people who need it most: the refugees who have been forced to leave their homes and those who have held their ground within Syria’s borders.
“It’s so easy to find groups to get involved with or just give what you can from your own money and time,” Muayad said. “White Helmets is a really great group that has helped Syrians. We can try to do our best to fundraise and help out refugees, giving them the best lives we can, temporarily, until they can go home. I don’t think we can do anything when it comes to political things.”
Muayad and Raef encourage USM students to ask questions, read historical content as well as current news media. While it has been difficult for Muayad and Raef to stay hopeful, they made it clear that there will have to be a worldwide commitment to the rebuilding of Syria within the coming years.
“Sadly, I don’t know if it’s going to end soon,” Muayad said. “Even if it ends soon it’s going to take an even longer time to bring everybody back to Syria and make it better than it was before.”
By: Julie Pike, Staff Writer
Freshman student and political science major Pdg Muhamiriza will be taking on the role of student body vice president and will work alongside Student Body President Humza Khan. Muhamiriza stated that he was involved with the student senate only two weeks before he came into his new position.
“As soon as the former vice president stepped down and they took a vote, I talked to a few friends among the senate and they thought I fit the criteria,” Muhamiriza said. “The process was relatively quick and easy.”
Muhamiriza is in his second semester at USM. He came to Maine from his home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He stated that after his time at USM, he hopes to go to law school in the future and pursue a career in law.
Muhamarizia got involved with student government because it fell into his area of interest and had come into his new role ready with projects he wants to get started. He expressed interest in starting a debate club on campus, and a diversity club as well, which he is working with the chief of staff on the student senate to create.
The student senate has been faced difficult problems over the past year, but Muhamiriza believes only the negatives were being focused on, and the good work the senate was doing was being cast aside.
“People usually don’t notice the good, they only notice the bad,” he stated. “When negative things happened in the senate, people assumed they weren’t doing a good job. But when the senators are doing a good job, people don’t talk about it.”
As far as how the student senate can improve, Muhamiriza has his own ideas to bring to the table.
“I’m hoping to build an atmosphere of trust among students, so that we can try to be prepared in advance of whatever might happen in the future,” Muhamiriza stated. “In the last month and in the last year there was a lot going on and people didn’t expect that sort of chaos to happen. We should try to avoid that in advance and try to work with every group, despite any differing opinions.”
Muhamiriza knew that taking on the position of student body vice president came with important responsibilities.
“You need to be able to listen to people’s thoughts and try to be as transparent as possible,” Muhamiriza said. “You need to be loyal to the president and not take the job only for the pay but as someone who is willing to bring something to the table.”
Muhamiriza expressed a desire to be committed to his job, and he believes that is one of the biggest qualities needed to be a part of student government.
“It’s all about commitment, if I can do my job right and try to be as innovative and creative as possible, I think that will be my contribution to the senate,” he stated.
Muhamirzia stated that as far as he knew the student senate acted in a constitutional manner when they dismissed the last student body vice president, Madison Raymond.
“They did whatever they did in a constitutional way and that’s all there was. If it was done right and constitutionally that’s all that matters,” Muhamiriza said.
For now, Muhamiriza is focusing on the future and on putting time and effort into his role as student body vice president.
By: Julie Pike, Staff Writer
President Glenn Cummings was a guest speaker at the student senate meeting on Friday, Feb. 10. He spoke to the senators about the upcoming event at USM, a talk by Maine Rep. Lawrence Lockman titled Alien Invasion: Fixing the Immigrant Crisis.
Students at USM have pushed for the event to be cancelled in a Facebook post by the group Students of #USMfuture. Cummings decided not to cancel the event and stated that he doesn’t want the administration dictating what students can and can’t hear.
Cummings explained that Lockman has every right to speak at USM, as the First Amendment allows him to do so. He was invited to speak on campus by the student organization Young Americans for Freedom.
“Larry Lockman is a mosquito,” Cummings stated. “He’s just there to irritate us and see if we will act like he acts.”
In his conversation with the student senate, Cummings thanked the senators for handling the issue well.
“I want to recognize that you guys are classy people,” Cummings stated. “You guys understand why freedom of speech makes a difference and you stood by your decision to not shut this down.”
Cummings focused on the rights outlined in the First Amendment during his discussion with the student senate.
“Welcome to the greatest country on earth, you have the right to act exactly like Rep. Lockman,” Cummings said. “Along with that you also have the choice not to.”
Student Senator Aaron Pierce brought up concerns about having extra security at the event. On Feb. 1, a violent protest broke out at the University of California, Berkeley, where Milo Yannopoulos was scheduled to speak. Yannopoulos is a right-wing commentator who writes for Breitbart News. The protests caused $100,000 worth of damages.
Cummings stated that the university will be increasing the amount of police officers at the event as well as having other police on call. Cummings spoke to Portland Chief of Police Michael Sauschuck about having police close to the campus during the event.
Cummings made it clear at the meeting that if Lockman suggests violence or harassment in his talk, the event will be immediately shut down and he will be taken away. Cummings stated that it goes the other way too, however, and if people come into Lockman’s lecture and conduct themselves in such a way as to silence Lockman, they will face the same consequences.
“He is testing you, the students, that’s what this is about,” Cummings stated. “He knows he’s got an ignorant agenda. Nobody thinks he’s got any great wisdom to add to the world. He just wants to provoke you. He wants to provoke people to make himself look better.”
Members of the student senate had their own thoughts to add about the upcoming event and what the role of the student senate is during these situations.
“This is not what we agree with and this is not what we support, but by going to this event and possibly provoking violence, we’re not getting anything done,” stated Senator Shaman Kirkland. “If we were to have students not come to the event or to protest it, he would look like the person that he is, a person that doesn’t have power and a person that’s just trying to disrupt the university.”
Kirkland proposed the idea that Cummings should suggest that students not attend the event in a Monday Missives email. Cummings responseded that his job is to remain unbiased, but if there was an alternative event presented by a student organization, he stated that he would be happy to mention it.
“I’d love to wake up on Friday morning to the headline ‘Larry Came, No One Showed,’” Cummings said.
While Cummings’ expressed his stance on the matter, he ultimately left it up to the student senate to decide how they will move forward. He reiterated the fact that everyone has their right to freedom of speech.
“We don’t have the right to preach violence or the right to shut him down,” Cummings said. “He does get the chance to say his words and we cannot shut him down. However, you have the right to not participate.”
The overall agreement of the student senate was to not take a side. Student Senator Pierce stated that the student senate should remain supportive of every student.
“We are supposed to appear impartial no matter what and allow everybody the right to speak,” stated Senator Dylan Reynolds, who was inducted at the meeting as the Assistant to the Student Body Vice President.
Lockman’s talk will take place on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Wishcamper Center. President Cummings and the student senate hope the event will be peaceful.