Univ. of Iowa students protest conservative commentator Matt Walsh’s appearance on campus

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:30 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Hours before known conservative commentator Matt Walsh was set to speak at the Iowa Memorial Union on Wednesday, students gathered across the street in protest. At the same time, inside IMU, many lined up outside the theater to see a screening of Walsh’s documentary, ‘What is a Woman?’.

TV-9 spoke with several students with varying reactions to the event. One first-first year student, Kelsie Stewart, said she knew about the event thanks to the information spread across social media.

“People are like, ‘No, this isn’t okay, we need to be doing something about it.’ And other people are like ‘Who cares?” recalled Stewart.

While she made no plans to protest or attend the event, she said she’s still largely against it.

“It’s just a little bit sad that we would invite someone like that on to our campus especially because Iowa is so progressive and always so open about acceptance and everything but then it’s kind of going backwards on that by having him here,” said Stewart.

Iowa Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) helped to organize the event. Leaders with the group say it’s important to have Walsh on campus to lead certain topics when it comes to the transgender community.

“Just having conversations about the things we’ve been talking about all semester: transgender athletes, women’s spaces, the rise of transgender in America,” said Iowa YAF Vice Chair, John Piaszynski. “There’s a lot of conversations going on that wouldn’t be happening if this event weren’t here.”

Some planned to avoid the event altogether.

“In my impossible ideal world I think that Matt Walsh should show up to campus and like 5 total people from both sides would show up,” said UI student, Nolan Yoerger.

And others planned to protest hours in advance.

“It’s extremely important that we do not let this type of hate speech continue to spread, especially not on campus,” said Larkin Holder.