North Texas Daily

UNT’s invitation to Donald Trump Jr. isn’t just surprising, it’s tone deaf

UNT’s invitation to Donald Trump Jr. isn’t just surprising, it’s tone deaf

August 23
22:07 2017

When the news broke that Donald Trump Jr. would be speaking as part of the UNT Keuhne Speaker Series on Oct. 24, all you could really do is stare at it. It just did not make sense.

It still doesn’t.

Trump Jr. and a majority of the rhetoric he and his father, President Donald Trump, stand for do not represent the inclusive and diverse community of the University of North Texas. UNT’s decision to host Trump Jr. came just days after the racially fueled violence in Charlottesville that his father refused to condemn until nearly three days after the incident.

Tack on the fact Trump Jr. is currently under federal investigation for possibly colluding with Russia during last year’s election, and you are left with a tone deaf and utterly irresponsible decision.

The university seemingly tried to keep the announcement under the radar, quietly placing it on the Kuehne Speaker Series site last week.

So when we first reported Trump Jr. would be speaking as part of the Keuhne Speaker Series, the reactions from students and alumni was overwhelmingly negative — and for good reason. Trump Jr. simply does not represent the values of UNT, and his name should never be attached to the UNT brand.

Forget political affiliation and listening to both sides of the aisle — the move to bring in Trump Jr. showcases how out of touch sponsors and some administrators are with the UNT community. Not even an email from the Office of the President promoting UNT’s diverse history and condemning racial intolerance, hate speech and violence makes this move right.

The only way to fix the problem is to uninvite Trump Jr, even if that means upsetting some private donors and throwing away some money. In the past, Trump Jr. has been paid around $50,000 to speak, which isn’t exactly chump change.

But this isn’t UNT’s money.

The Kuehne Series is privately funded by sponsors and has hosted mainly conservative minds such as FOX Business Network host Melissa Francis and former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani. The speaker series is named after UNT alumnus and North Texas Athletics Hall of Famer Ernie Kuehne.

Kuehne is president and board chairman of Kuehne Oil Co., a member of the State Bar of Texas and owner of Kuehne Racing. He has the cash, along with his sponsors to throw on the table and not only entice Trump Jr., but allow UNT to move forward with the event despite public outcry.

It will take a massive amount of spine for UNT to uninvite Trump, but it needs to happen.

The problem is not that Trump Jr. is a conservative speaker, the problem is UNT thought Trump Jr. adequately represents the views of its university. UNT knew there would be backlash, and so far has not addressed it properly.

Whether you want Trump Jr. to speak or completely oppose it, this is your time to tell UNT which side you are on. But judging by the reaction around campus and on social media, there is just one right thing to do.

Sorry Junior, you’re fired.

Featured illustration by Theresa Sanchez

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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  1. Get your facts straight
    Get your facts straight August 24, 16:37

    Everything you are saying about Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are false. Perhaps you need to watch some of the rallies in which our president interacts with Americans, and note the ethnicity, background, etc. of those attending. As we saw in Phoenix this week, the rallies are very inclusive. And the university administration has little control over the actions taken by the Kuehne Series. The main donor makes the final decisions. Kuehne speaker events are not aimed at students and never have been, so there’s no point in the university making an announcement in what is a donor event.And UNT is a state university and should be non partisan politically. There is no “stand” of the university. Uninviting any speaker, particularly a conservative one, will give UNT a black eye to most in the state of Texas and most in the U.S. Denton may be liberal bubble in your eyes, but Texas is still very much a red state. Do you really want UNT to be scorned, mocked, etc. for being a terrible academic environment that indoctrinates students as liberals, provides “safe spaces” and can’t teach students to think critically and civilly disagree with those with different opinions? That is what has happened to Berkeley and many universities that have uninvited conservative speakers. They’re no longer seen as effective universities.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Mcreigh
    Mcreigh August 24, 17:53

    Yes he should be able to speak without protests or rude behavior. College students should be able to listen to different views so they are knowledgeable of what the speaker is trying to say.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Trump
    Trump August 24, 20:00

    Did you just say UNT was a diverse campus? So doesn’t that mean that there are students who probably support Mr Trump? When will the left get over silencing people as their only means of disagreeing. Why don’t you place some realty smart students in the audience for Q&A and have a real debate. Why is the left so afraid of conversation!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Patty
    Patty August 25, 08:56

    Why is it the democrats lost control of the senate, congress, supreme court & the presidency but they are still running this country ?

    Why doesnt the general public understand there wasnt a collusion
    with Russia ?

    Why are the far left liberals destroying this country?

    Why wont the American people see &
    understand these racial tensions
    are being created & fueled, by the far left as a diversions to keep the country in turmoil ?

    Why do the powerful liberals want
    the American citizens focused on anything but the truth?

    What are the liberals hiding ?

    Why do the powerful liberals want to destroy this country ?

    Why are so many Americans afraid of the truth?

    Why isnt Hillary held accountable for her treasonous leaks ?

    Why shouldn’t Donald Trump Jr be invited to speak ?

    Why wont the left concead, as we conservatives did, for 8 long yrs.

    Let Donald Trump Jr SPEAK !

    Enough already.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Steve
    Steve August 25, 18:47

    Amazing! UNT doesn’t need this kind of attention. It will take some spine to reverse the invitation, but the school…at the very least… needs to say, ‘No, not on our campus.’ This is not just a matter of giving the other side a hearing. Until Trump Jr.’s is cleared, he can speak off-campus.

    Reply to this comment
  6. David Narrow
    David Narrow August 27, 08:44

    As someone who holds two degrees from UNT, I am outraged and embarrassed by this invitation. I urge the University to rescind this invitation.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Jennifer, 1977 UNT grad
    Jennifer, 1977 UNT grad September 08, 15:13

    Is there a protest being planned? I want to make sure UNT clearly gets the message from students and alums that this is a totally unacceptable invitation! No equivocating about free speech makes it okay. I may be 67, but I would love to be part of a peaceful protest.

    Reply to this comment
  8. workoutman71
    workoutman71 September 10, 22:28

    Since it takes spine to uninvite Trump, Jr. there is not a lot of that going around on the Hill at UNT. Most of the administrators’ heads are up the asses of the donors and have no time for developing any spine. Their spine is bent over while they kiss the asses as they have since the day they arrived on campus.

    Reply to this comment

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