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Group gathers on Denton Square to protest Trump Jr. speech

Group gathers on Denton Square to protest Trump Jr. speech

Protestors gather at Denton Square to protest Donald Trump Jr.'s speech on behalf of UNT. Roughly 30 people attended the protest Tuesday night. Dana McCurdy

Group gathers on Denton Square to protest Trump Jr. speech
October 25
21:36 2017

Protesters gathered at the Denton Square Tuesday night in response to Donald Trump Jr. speaking as part of the UNT Kuehne Speaker Series.  

Talking to a crowd of about 30 people, Mat Pruneda, a Denton resident running for House District 64 against Lynn Stucky, led the event by voicing how he believes bringing President Donald Trump’s eldest son to speak does not represent UNT or Denton.

“This isn’t the Denton I know,” Pruneda said. “People in positions of power are misrepresenting what we believe.”

Trump Jr. talked Tuesday afternoon about the positives of nationalism and the necessity of open-mindedness at  AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The event cost about $250,000, in which Trump Jr. was paid $100,000 for speaking. There has been backlash from the UNT and Denton community surrounding this event, including a letter signed by over 100 UNT faculty members denouncing the event. 

Pruneda said he planned the event to provide a safe space for students and Denton citizens to respectfully speak their minds about the event. He said he wanted to provide a Denton-based platform for those who couldn’t get to Arlington.

Different local social activists and political candidates expressed their opposition at Trump Jr. speaking and also asked the crowd to continue in their social activism. Will Fisher, who is running for Congressional District 26, called the crowd “experienced patriots” and advocated for them to set examples for others in social engagement.

Students who attended the protest said while they support freedom of speech, they don’t feel like Trump Jr. represents them. They also disagree with the costs of the event.

International studies and political science freshman Helen Vidrine said she feels deceived.

“I came to UNT because I wanted to come to a university that respects women and the LGBT community and people of color,” Vidrine said. “This is not an accurate reflection of what students want. It’s not fair to them.”

Political science senior Jordan Villarreal said he supports the idea UNT should not give a stage to someone who goes against the university’s core mission.

“Everything Trump Jr. represents is what UNT is trying to move against,” Villarreal said. “We don’t have to gift a platform to these negative views.”

Vocal studies professor Jennifer Lane said she felt more concerned about how the process Trump Jr. was brought to speak under the UNT banner was not common knowledge and how UNT had little say in the matter.

“The process by which this was done has all the marks by and for the donors,” Lane said. “It’s not supposed to work that way. This is a conflict of interest and ethics problem.”

The UNT Faculty Senate Executive Committee voted 4-1 Wednesday to stop discussion on a resolution that was designed to increase transparency in the university’s speaker selection process.

Pruneda ended by reminding the crowd what they gathered for.

“This night was about reclaiming our value and making sure that UNT voices are heard,” Pruneda said. “We’re reclaiming what we feel Denton is: against the Trump agenda and against using our name to fund the alt-right.”

Featured Image: Protestors gather at Denton Square to protest Donald Trump Jr.’s speech on behalf of UNT. Roughly 30 people attended the protest Tuesday night. Dana McCurdy

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Celeste Gracia

Celeste Gracia

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  1. Trump deplorable
    Trump deplorable October 26, 08:14

    Only 30 people showed up? That’s not news. Snowflakes are going to bitch at anyone who doesn’t share their liberal political views, so a protest isn’t unusual anymore.

    Reply to this comment
    • Neil Nevins
      Neil Nevins October 26, 09:00

      what biting words from someone who would willingly call themselves a “Trump deplorable”

      It’s a peaceful protest. They’ve been happening in your country for decades so get over yourself and the “snowflake” ideology and accept that these beliefs have always been held and people with an actual moral compass don’t like the president or his family who don’t represent what America should stand for

      Reply to this comment
  2. Loves UNT
    Loves UNT October 26, 12:29

    “Deplorable” is a badge of honor among those who voted for and continue to support Donald Trump. And yes, peaceful protests have been having for decades, but they’re absolutely useless unless there is a clear goal behind them. Martin Luther King Jr. and others in the Civil Rights movement used peaceful protest for a specific goal: passage of the Civil Rights Bill and other policies that lead to African-Americans being treated equally. But protesting because a speaker you didn’t like spoke earlier during the day makes no sense at all, and is nothing but an outlet for anger. And you have no right at all to say that Trump supporters don’t have an “actual moral compass.” My compass is not the same as yours, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have one. And who are you to say what “America should stand for”? Get over yourself and stop thinking that all Trump supporters are evil people, Neil. We are not, and we’re also not snowflakes, because we don’t resort to this level of bitching when a liberal speaker is invited to UNT. We just don’t go!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Loves UNT
    Loves UNT October 26, 12:30

    Deplorable is a badge of honor among Trump supporters, because we know we’re definitely that way. You’d understand that if you bothered to get out of your liberal bubble, Neil.

    Reply to this comment
    • Loves UNT
      Loves UNT October 26, 12:33

      And of course I mean “not that way.” I shouldn’t post when I’m so angry at the judging mentality shown by those like Neil, who think they know what is best for the U.S. and assume that all Trump supporters have “no real moral compass.” My moral compass is the traditional, Judeo-Christian values that most Americans still have, despite liberal progressives trying to destroy those values and destroy us.

      Reply to this comment
      • Rolling My Eyes
        Rolling My Eyes October 27, 08:12

        Yeah. Forgive him for not wanting to align myself with a political side that registers a negative word such as deplorable with “a badge of honor”

        Reply to this comment
  4. ELH
    ELH October 26, 20:47

    “I came to UNT because I wanted to come to a university that respects women and the LGBT community and people of color,”

    And apparently a university that hosts absolutely no views alternative to your own. Grow up.

    Reply to this comment

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