‘It’s easier to burn posters than show up and engage,’ YAF spokesperson said
Things are heating up ahead of conservative firebrand Matt Walsh’s speech at Stanford University on March 1.
Flyers advertising the campus event were set ablaze by protesters, and event management platform Eventbrite removed the speech’s ticketing page, forcing organizers to set up a new ticketing platform last minute.
The incidents are the latest in a string of controversies surrounding Walsh’s pending speech at Stanford, his next campus stop in his collegiate speaking tour focused on criticisms of transgender ideology.
The Stanford student senate, which officially opposes the event, allocated funds for Walsh’s appearance to avoid “legal consequences,” but also allocated thousands of dollars to counter protesters as well.
Walsh’s speech is co-sponsored by the Stanford College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation.
“Remarkably, in a country founded on the principles of free speech and expression, some still think they control what others can see and hear. Fortunately, they’re wrong,” YAF spokesperson Michael McGonigle told The College Fix in an email. “It’s easier to burn posters than show up and engage in a respectful exchange of ideas—perhaps out of fear they may agree with what they hear.”
Stanford University’s College Republicans chapter posted Feb. 17 to its Twitter account images depicting posters for Walsh’s event set ablaze.
The images are screenshots from the university-focused discussion app Fizz and contain claims the Stanford College Republicans placed posters for the Walsh event over other posters soliciting donations for victims of the earthquake in Turkey.
With @MattWalshBlog coming to Stanford March 1st, Leftists are losing their minds. Just last night leftists made the point by TORCHING our flyers.
— Stanford College Republicans (@Stanford_GOP) February 17, 2023
“With @MattWalshBlog coming to Stanford March 1st, Leftists are losing their minds,” the account tweeted. “Just last night leftists made the point by TORCHING our flyers.”
“We deny covering any well-meaning flyers intentionally, but is lighting our flyers on FIRE really a rational reaction? @yaf.”
“As we gear up for @MattWalshBlog’s upcoming campus lecture, we are reminded that some Stanford students absolutely despise freedom of speech,” the College Republicans tweeted Feb. 23. “In nearly every dormitory on campus, flyers advertising this event have been vandalized, removed and destroyed by Marxist students.”
As we gear up for @MattWalshBlog 's upcoming campus lecture, we are reminded that some Stanford students absolutely despise freedom of speech. In nearly every dormitory on campus, flyers advertising this event have been vandalized, removed and destroyed by Marxist students. pic.twitter.com/IqeUmgk9iy
— Stanford College Republicans (@Stanford_GOP) February 24, 2023
‘Matt Walsh must not be platformed here,’ student stated in op-ed
The Stanford Daily, Stanford’s independent student newspaper, published an op-ed by Ava Aidala on Feb. 21 that prominently featured one of the same images of flaming posters for the Walsh event. The author characterized Walsh as a “primary propagandist” for the “looming erasure” of trans people.
“Matt Walsh must not speak on campus,” Aidala wrote. “This is not a question of freedom of speech, but one of the lives of our queer and trans students.”
“[Q]ueer students of campus, like many before us, must take our safety into our own hands,” Aidala continued.
“For those worried or scared, Queer Student Resources (QSR) will be open, providing a safe place for students during the event,” Aidala stated. “And for those angry, don’t be afraid to make your voice heard (just make sure to keep yourself safe). Whatever it takes, Matt Walsh must not be platformed here.”
Seamus Callaghan, president of the Stanford College Republicans, challenged several assertions made in the op-ed, accusing it of “the usual tropes in defense of transgender ideology.” He argued the right “provides better evidence, arguments, counter-arguments, and depth of historical context” to the transgender debate.
Callaghan told The College Fix via email that “Leftists have always torn down SCR’s flyers for everything from major speaker events to basic club recruitment socials, but posting it to social media is something new.”
Callaghan likened this escalation to a shift “from censorship to intimidation [that] reveals how terrified [leftists] are that Matt Walsh will be speaking” at Stanford.
The Fix reached out on Feb. 22 to Walsh via Twitter and the question form on his website. The Fix also reached out on Feb. 24 to Aidala and two LGBT-themed Stanford groups, Stanford Pride and Trans &. No response has been received.