The NYU College Republicans’ guest speaker Lucian Wintrich — a conservative White House correspondent for Gateway Pundit — was not exactly preaching to the choir, as he may have expected during his visit to NYU yesterday.
Although the majority of the approximately 60 people at the event were members of the NYUCR, there were murmurs and interjections from the audience as Wintrich strayed from on-topic accounts of his time at Bard College and his experiences in media at White House.
At one point, Wintrich pulled out a flask and began to drink.
— Jemima McEvoy (@JemimaNews) March 24, 2017
Once Wintrich began deviating from his initial narrative and turned to more provocative comments, audience members began trickling from the room on the eighth floor of the Kimmel Center for University Life. Aside from one attendee who swore at NYUCR members after the event, it remained peaceful.
“Journalism is 80 percent of our job and mild performance is 20 percent,” Wintrich said to the crowd.
In an interview with WSN before the event, Wintrich said that he had not planned what he was going to address on stage. He said that the social justice warrior culture and the terms associated with this movement are too prevalent at universities, and he wanted his presence at NYU to remedy that.
“I thought [these terms] were isolated to liberal universities, but now we are seeing these terms and weird bigoted terms, such as systemic oppression — and all these weird, nonsensical terms — have become far too mainstream,” Wintrich said. “I’m going to be examining how a lot of this terrible culture has spread across very ignorant minds in western civilization.”
The NYU College Republicans had initially scheduled Wintrich to visit the university on Feb. 16, but this event was postponed by the administration due to security concerns. Vice President of Student Affairs Marc Wais said that staff from Public Safety and Student Affairs had been in consultation with the NYUCR in planning for a safe and successful event, and that both teams were on site.
“Within this context, our hope and expectation for this event, and all events here at NYU, is that a speaker will be allowed to express their views and opinions in a respectful and civil environment that will allow for an intellectual exchange of ideas,” Wais said.
Wais said that the free expression of ideas is a core principle at NYU, so the university worked to safely facilitate his visit. A Public Safety Officer at the site estimated that there were 15 to 20 officers on site, and the New York Police Department corralled the building with a number of vans hours prior to the event.
Tisch senior and NYUCR Treasurer Jack Kapulsky, who is responsible for selecting the majority of the guest speakers for the club, said that the university is applying the same security protocols that were enforced when Gavin McInnes spoke at NYU — an event at which 11 people were arrested and McInnes was maced by a protester.
“If [McInnes] was a code red, I’d say [Wintrich] is a code yellow, or a code orange at the worst,” Kapulsky said. “He is a comedian, and whenever you have a comedian, there are going to be people that hate or love the comedian — humor is so subjective and it so easily falls into the territory of controversial and offensive for some people.”
Kapulsky said that Wintrich’s visit is representative of the club’s efforts to encourage free speech on campus and diversity of opinions. He said that to create an open dialogue, NYUCR sometimes invites guest speakers who are interesting and provocative, even though the club may not necessarily endorse their views.
Wintrich believes that the main problem stemming from the left is a pseudo-intellectualism, which he describes as censorship of intellectual discourse.
“There is an absolute problem stemming from the left and these very regressive ways of thinking that is damaging young American minds and damaging intellectual discourse,” Wintrich said. “People accept these blanket terms and blanket ideas as terms and I think that it is damaging for the future generations. Hopefully I’ll help correct some of that.”
Email Jemima McEvoy at [email protected]