Correspondence between NYU and Lucian Wintrich is on pause after his planned visit to the university as a guest speaker for the NYU College Republicans was postponed by the university’s administration due to security concerns.
Wintrich, the White House press correspondent for the Gateway Pundit, is indefinitely rescheduled to come approximately one month from the original February date after administration expressed concern over not having adequate time to prepare for enough security for Wintrich’s appearance.
NYUCR originally hoped to host New York City Council candidate Melissa Jane Kronfeld, but she was unavailable. Instead, NYUCR invited Wintrich one week before the event. Wintrich said that during his speech he planned to discuss identity politics, federal politics and his White House credentials.
Although NYUCR cited concerns about the NYU Anti-fascists for canceling the event, the club said that it did not intend to demonstrate at Wintrich’s event. The group said that Wintrich’s proximity to Yiannopoulos and McInnes was not reason enough to disrupt his event.
“We certainly noted [his misogyny and proximity to Yiannopoulos and McInnes] and are disturbed by it,” the group said in a statement. “We fully support any other groups or individuals who would like to demonstrate against it.”
The NYU Anti-fascists believes Wintrich is strategically using his speech’s postponement to increase his social media presence and further his career — they said that many alt-right figures create a climate of frenzy to gain notoriety.
But Wintrich said that these accusations of opportunism are completely asinine, and that their statements against him were libelous.
“If they weren’t a group of eighteen-year-olds who only read Salon.com, then I would’ve called up one of my lawyers,” Wintrich said. “So they certainly need to be more generally aware of that. These are very uninformed students.”
Wintrich said the NYU Anti-fascists is inherently fascist, since he believes they are suppressing his right to free speech. He does not take the group seriously, because he thinks groups like NYU Anti-fascists do not want to listen to differing opinions.
Wintrich is the third conservative speaker who has faced resistance from NYU this academic year. Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos and Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes precede his visit and brought controversy with their anticipated presences.
When McInnes visited the university in January, someone sprayed him with mace before he entered the Kimmel Center for University Life building, and 11 people were arrested outside during the protest. And Yiannopoulos’ October 2016 event was cancelled without rescheduling.
CAS junior Elena Hatib, who serves as the NYUCR president, said that that NYUCR invited Wintrich to speak because the group believes he has great potential in the political world. She also said that members were interested in hearing a younger speaker.
“We did not anticipate that students would be upset with his appearance, but I think some students are so quick to judge anyone who is a Republican without studying their actual beliefs,” Hatib said. “When it was announced that the Wintrich event [was] postponed, so many students messaged me expressing interest in attending the event.”
Hatib also said she thinks the speech’s postponement will yield a high turnout for the NYUCR event. She said that when NYUCR plans to host a big-name speaker in the future, it will work closely with administration to ensure a smoothly-running event.
NYU spokesperson Matt Nagel said that administration is working with NYUCR to ensure Wintrich can safely make his speech to NYUCR at NYU. He also said the university asked NYUCR to postpone the event because it could not provide adequate safety measures on such short notice.
“We have not heard back from the College Republicans about a makeup date,” Nagel said. “NYU’s commitment to free speech is long-standing and ongoing. At the same time, as has always been the case, NYU will continue to make the safety and security of our community a top priority when planning any event which features an outside speaker.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 21 print edition.
Email Caroline Haskins at [email protected]