The University of Mississippi has cancelled the venue for an upcoming Young America’s Foundation lecture featuring the Daily Wire’s Elisha Krauss, citing an unwritten policy that they do not allow ideological groups to host events in the venue.
The lecture, hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Ole Miss through Young America’s Foundation’s Robert and Patricia Herbold Lecture Series, is scheduled to take place in just a few days, on November 13. While the group was originally approved to have the lecture take place in the Overby Center, the school abruptly changed its mind and claimed the approval was a mistake, citing an unwritten policy that no ideological groups can host speakers in the venue.
According to an email obtained by Young America’s Foundation, a university employee stated that the auditorium is not available for use by “partisan or openly ideological student groups.” Curtis Wilkie claimed that they have declined usage of the auditorium by liberal and conservative groups, and argued that “Young Americans for Freedom is described as an ‘ideologically conservative youth activism organization.’ From my many years as a political reporter, I know that the group is strongly linked to the Republican Party. So I feel we have to say ‘no’ to you, too.”
When pushed by the YAF chapter to cite this policy in writing, the university could not produce one.
The school claims to only allow journalism-focused events in this venue, but just last Tuesday hosted a senior official at the Cato Institute, Chris Preble, to discuss his new book on foreign policy and President Trump. The school also hosted a former campaign official of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and a Democratic candidate for a Mississippi Senate seat David Baria, both in the Overby Center.
Furthermore, Elisha Krauss has an extensive history in broadcasting. Before becoming a contributor and host at Daily Wire, one of the nation’s leading conservative media outlets, she was a senior producer for the Sean Hannity Show, and cohosted a radio show with Daily Wire Editor-In-Chief Ben Shapiro. If her strong production and broadcasting experience doesn’t qualify her to share her insights at a journalism school’s venue, it seems the school is unfairly deciding which voices can and cannot be heard.
“It’s not surprising that the man attempting to shut down the event is a ‘former political reporter’ who’s more likely doing this to impress his circle of journalist friends, rather than promoting free speech and discussion of ideologies he may personally disagree with,” Krauss told Young America’s Foundation. “It’s ridiculous that the school has decided to renege on their agreement less than a week before the event.”
It seems the University is Mississippi is haphazardly applying an unwritten policy, limiting the free speech rights of its students that it ought to protect.
Young America’s Foundation is exploring all legal remedies.