On Wednesday, Young America’s Foundation sponsored one of the most consequential leaders in U.S. history—Vice President Dick Cheney—to speak at a Cornell University lecture organized by campus conservative club.

Despite repeated attempts by campus and community leftists to silence the conservative students and Vice President Cheney, Young America’s Foundation persisted and ensured that a packed auditorium of over 500 attendees heard about the national security threats facing America and the tough solutions to those problems. The conservative student activists even had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have dinner with the Vice President, and the president of the club had the privilege of interviewing the Vice President on stage.

A group of radical students and even faculty members protested the lecture, with many attacking the conservative students for inviting Cheney to campus and some attempting to disrupt the lecture itself:

–Russell Rickford, an associate professor of history who studies the Black Radical Tradition, led the protestors, bizarrely arguing that Vice President Cheney’s visit was “especially perverse” because it was taking place on May 1, International Workers’ Day—”a time to celebrate the dignity of the labor classes.” Rickford didn’t stop there. He also claimed that, by inviting Vice President Cheney to Cornell, the conservative students were demonstrating their “contempt for humanity.”

–Rachel Weil, a professor of history participating in the protest, compared the Vice President to a slime mold, proudly stating, “But you don’t invite slime-molds or mass killers to speak at your university…because this gives them legitimacy and authority that slime-molds don’t have.”

–Even prior to the date of the lecture, Matthew Evangelista, a professor of history and political science criticized the conservative students for their “ignorance of [Vice President Cheney’s] criminal record.”

–Leftist activists—including a member of the student government—also hoarded over 100 tickers to the event to prevent other students and community members from listening to Vice President Cheney’s remarks.

–During Vice President Cheney’s lecture, three disruptors failed in their attempts to have Vice President Cheney arrested.

These protestors sought to silence conservative ideas at Cornell University. By attempting to prevent Vice President Cheney’s lecture from taking place, what they really demonstrated is how fearful they are of ideas different from their own leftist fantasies.

They received a fitting response from the audience that came to actually hear Vice President Cheney. In all of the instances in which disruptors attempted to stop the event from moving forward, the entire audience booed them. In response to one of these attempts, an audience member loudly yelled out to the Vice President, “Thank you for your service!”


Raj Kannappan is the director of YAF’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise and an alumnus of Cornell University.