Former Vice President Mike Pence will use a speech tonight at the University of Virginia to hit back at students who tried to prevent his appearance and to deliver a defense of free speech on campuses.
And to underscore his point he will use the words of Thomas Jefferson, UVA’s founder, to remind his opponents that free speech is the ‘birthright of all Americans.’
It comes after the university’s student newspaper last month demanded that the invitation to Donald Trump’s vice president be withdrawn – one of a string of controversies over who should and shouldn’t be allowed to speak at universities.
Protests are planned for Tuesday evening to coincide with his visit.
‘One of the most troubling developments of this past year has been the Biden administration’s wholehearted embrace of the Woke Left’s all-encompassing assault on culture and values,’ Pence is expected to say, according to advance speech excerpts obtained by DailyMail.com.
‘I don’t have to tell conservatives on any campus in America about the assault on free speech.’
He will say he is proud of the Trump’s administration’s executive order saying every campus must respect freedom of speech or risk losing federal aid.
Former Vice President Mike Pence will use a speech tonight at the University of Virginia to hit back at students who tried to prevent his appearance and to deliver a defense of free speech on campuses
‘When it comes to free speech, I agree with the founder of this university, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote “as long as we may think as we will, and speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement,”‘ he will say.
‘When he founded UVA, Jefferson declared that “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind.” Freedom of speech is the God-given birthright of every American, and we will never let the Woke Left take it away.’
His setting could not be more appropriate.
Campuses have become a testing ground of free speech and its limits.
When details of Pence’s appearance were announced last month, it triggered an angry row over whether the university should host Trump’s vice president.
The board of The Cavalier Daily, the university’s student newspaper published a strongly worded editorial titled ‘Dangerous rhetoric is not entitled to a platform.’
It said that his words represented a threat to peaceful student life.
‘For Pence, gay couples signify a “societal collapse,” Black lives do not matter, transgender individuals and immigrants do not deserve protection and the pandemic should not be taken seriously,’ the editorial read.
Tickets for the free event at the Old Cabell Hall were snapped up quickly.
And organizers will have to be on high alert for hecklers who have obtained tickets.
When details of Pence’s appearance were announced last month, it triggered an angry row over whether the University of Virginia (above) should host Trump’s vice president
They will hear Pence say that under the Biden administration ‘woke-ism is running amok in our public schools and universities.
‘Patriotic education has been replaced with political indoctrination,’ he is expected to say.
‘They abolished our 1776 commission and authorized the teaching of Critical Race Theory in our schools. They’ve destroyed women’s athletics in the name of extreme gender ideology.
‘Let me say this clearly: participation in sports should be determined by one’s gender at birth as a matter of fairness and common sense.’
But he will say the tide is turning, citing Glenn Younkin’s victory in the Virginia gubernatorial race last year as evidence that ‘parents are beginning to take back our schools from the Woke Left.’
‘Even in San Francisco – the most liberal city in America – parents successfully recalled three woke school board members who cared more about renaming public schools than reopening them,’ he is due to say.
‘These results are sending a shockwave across the nation – and the Democrats who support cancel culture, CRT, and school closures are shaking in their boots.
‘To the Woke Left radicals who have spent years agitating for a culture war – I say congratulations, you’ve got it, and now you’re going to lose.’
The controversy at UVA over Pence’s presence followed a free speech debate between conservative and progressive speakers at Yale Law last month sparked a protest by a group of angry liberal students
Yale Law School professor Kate Stith right) told students to ‘grow up’ and respect the university’s rule on free speech. The students said their protesting was protected free speech
He will call on his audience to save the nation from the ‘Woke Left.’
‘You will be the ones to stand on the ramparts for freedom. You will be the ones to stand proudly for the legacy of great men like Jefferson and Madison who founded this university and this nation.
‘And you will be the ones who restore our promise and pride, and make America greater than ever before.’
But if The Cavalier Daily had had its way he would not have appeared at all. Its editorial condemned the university for allowing the speech to happen.
‘The university has accepted Pence’s visit as an “opportunity to hear from, and engage with, leaders and experts from a wide variety of fields and perspectives,”‘ it said.
‘So-called “perspectives” should not be welcomed when they spread rhetoric that directly threatens the presence and lives of our community members.’
It bore out the fears of organizer Nick Cabrera, UVA chairman of the conservative Young Americas Foundation.
‘The political climate at the University of Virginia has grown to become nearly inhospitable towards conservatives,’ he said when the invitation was announced.
‘Bringing the 48th Vice President Mike Pence will allow for a reinvigorated sense of intellectual diversity across Jefferson’s campus.’
But Pence’s visit had support from some faculty members.
‘This speech-is-violence argument is not only wrong — no calls for violence will be issued April 12 — but also contradicts the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment, which generally creates space for a wide range of views to be expressed so long as the relevant speech does not incite violence,’ said a letter signed by 17 senior members of staff.
Pence’s speech is part of a lecture series sponsored by Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth organization. Pictured: Pence poses with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) in Jerusalem on March 8
‘It is also a disservice to those who are the victims of actual physical violence — whether those injured and killed during the many civil rights struggles in American history, those who fought and died for our constitutional rights as members of our armed services or the brave people of Ukraine who are fighting and dying for their freedoms, including free speech.’
The controversy at UVA over Pence’s presence followed a free speech debate between conservative and progressive speakers at Yale Law sparked a protest by a group of angry liberal students.
And in February, the former VP addressed a Stanford College Republican (SCR) Forum at Stanford University with a speech titled ‘How to Save America From the Woke Left.’
Pence’s visit at Stanford was met with dozens of protesters, who staged a peaceful demonstration outside the venue where he spoke, chanting ‘hate should not be taught here.’