Arizona legislative Republicans are hosting an ad hoc hearing investigating college campuses for potential violations of the First Amendment.
This comes after Arizona State University fired two employees and harassed them over a recent event at the school with conservative panelists, Charlie Kirk, Robert Kiyosaki, and Dennis Prager.
In an interview with Ann Atkinson, one of the terminated employees, she told The Gateway Pundit about the threats and harassment she faced from leftist faculty members and ASU leadership before she was ultimately fired for organizing the event at the school’s top personal development center. Dean Tara Williams is also shutting down the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development, likely to extinguish conservative thought on campus. “The Barrett culture changed” when ASU hired Williams as the college’s new Dean last August, Atkinson explained.
EXCLUSIVE: Arizona State University Faculty Member Ann Atkinson Speaks to TGP About Termination, Threats, Harassment by Leftist Faculty For Hosting Event With Conservative Speakers
Atkinson also wrote an OP-ED titled, “I Paid for Free Speech at Arizona State,” where she details ASU’s decision to fire her “for organizing an event featuring Charlie Kirk and Dennis Prager.”
Before the event, 37+ members of the radical left faculty at the Barrett Honors College organized a petition against the event, slandering speakers as “white nationalist provocateurs.” Barrett Honors College Dean Tara Williams encouraged this behavior and began censoring marketing for the “Health, Wealth and Happiness” event with conservative speakers. She then promoted an opposition event organized by rogue Barrett Faculty led by Professor April Miller.
Senator Anthony Kern retweeted the announcement of this event, commenting, “Tired of our State Universities shutting down conservatives? Be there Tuesday and support the First Amendment.”
Tired of our State Universities shutting down conservatives? Be there Tuesday and support the First Amendment: https://t.co/fMwxp4yWK7
— Anthony Kern (@anthonykernAZ) July 15, 2023
The press release from Arizona Senate Republicans states,
State Lawmakers Launch Committee to Investigate Free Speech at Arizona’s Public Universities
PHOENIX, ARIZONA- Arizona Republican lawmakers are spearheading the launch of a committee concerning freedom of expression at Arizona’s public universities and to examine events surrounding a program titled, “Health, Wealth & Happiness,” presented by Arizona State University’s T.W. Lewis Center.
The Joint Legislative Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom of Expression at Arizona’s Public Universities will convene to hear testimony regarding the program held on February 8, 2023, and the subsequent closing of the T.W. Lewis Center in June. Author and talk show host, Dennis Prager, and former Lewis Center Director, Ann Atkinson, will be among the individuals sharing their testimony. Invitations have also been extended to ASU faculty and administration who opposed the program.
Arizona State Senator Anthony Kern and Arizona State House Representative Quang Nguyen will serve as Co- Chairmen. Both currently lead the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. Joining them will be Senator Frank Carroll, Senator J.D. Mesnard, Representative Austin Smith, Representative Beverly Pingerelli, as well as Democrat legislators.
“Freedom of Speech is a principle our country was founded on and something I will always aim to protect,” said Senator Kern. “It’s incredibly important that our state’s universities support their students and guests sharing their opinions and viewpoints. We want to create an environment for individuals involved in this situation to share their sides of the story to better understand what occurred with this program and the impacts it may have had on future freedom of expression. My hope is that the ASU faculty and administration who opposed the program will accept our invitation to also share their stories.”
“Arizona’s public universities must be unfettered bastions of free speech and expression,” said Representative Nguyen. “I’m very concerned to see an administrator terminated after coordinating to have conservatives speak on campus. I look forward to hearing from university leadership as to why this happened and what ought to be done to rectify the situation.”
The Joint Legislative Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom of Expression at Arizona’s Public Universities will happen Tuesday, July 18 at 9:00 a.m. in Senate Hearing Room 109, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix.
Senator Kern will be available for media interviews following the conclusion of the committee.
Watch the hearing live here:
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