The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

UChicago Groups To Protest Ex-Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski's Visit

By aaroncynic in News on Feb 13, 2017 7:24PM

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski arrives at Trump Tower, December 7, 2016 in New York City. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty.
A coalition of groups at the University of Chicago is urging the school to rescind its invitation to former Trump campaign manager and current Fox News commentator Corey Lewandowski to speak at its Institute of Politics on Wednesday.

In a letter addressed to former Obama campaign manager and IOP Director David Axelrod and Robert Costa, who will host the event, the groups say that hosting Lewandowski, along with other Trump surrogates such as Sean Spicer, who spoke at the Institute last month, legitimizes their ideologies and political positions, which they say incite violence.

“Nothing about a firm commitment to free expression obliges us open our doors to (much less to provide platforms for) those who incite hatred and violence against refugees, immigrants, and minorities—that is, against our students, teachers, co-workers and neighbors,” reads the letter.

The event, which is only for students of the university and closed to the press
, is part of a series the Institute has dubbed “America in the Trump Era,” which it bills as a “look at the changes - cultural, policy, media and otherwise - coming under a Trump administration.”

The coalition, which includes groups such as UofC Resists and Graduate Students United, say that the appearances by Trump surrogates further emboldens the recent spate of visits the campus has seen from white supremecists. Just last week, white supremacists hung posters around the campus and in December, nazis hung up swastikas and other visual garbage on the building that houses the school’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and Center for Gender and Sexuality.

“To invite a parade of Trump surrogates is considerably worse. It sends a positive signal to white supremacists that they are welcome here,” the coalition said in its letter. “This exposes the most vulnerable members of our community to even greater risk.”

The coalition is planning to protest the event at 3:30pm on Wednesday.

Update: 3:45 p.m.

In a statement emailed to Chicagoist, Steve Edwards, Executive Director of the Institute of Politics, said the IOP is "non-partisan" and has hosted hundreds of speakers from "across the political spectrum," including supporters and detractors of Trump.

"With any administration, we would be remiss if we did not invite guests who could provide insights into the administration’s thinking and approach to governing. In Wednesday’s seminar, students will have the opportunity to question Corey Lewandowksi on these and many other topics related to the Trump campaign. Consistent with the values of the University and the IOP, people are free to contest, criticize, and protest views expressed on campus so long as they do not obstruct or interfere with the freedom of others to express their views."