Students at the University of Florida are planning to protest Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle’s appearance at the school on Thursday, dubbing the protest #ChompTrump.
The president’s eldest son and Guilfoyle – a senior adviser to Trump 2020 campaign – are expected to speak at the University Auditorium at 7 p.m. EST as guests of the UF student government’s ACCENT Speakers Bureau.
We are excited to announce our first show of the fall semester featuring Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle! The show will take place next Thursday, October 10th in the University Auditorium at 7pm! pic.twitter.com/I1ISZtt2C2
— ACCENT Speakers (@accentspeakers) October 1, 2019
The university faced a tremendous amount of backlash following the announcement, with outraged individuals calling it a “disgrace” and a “waste of money.” ACCENT is reportedly paying the pair $50,000 to speak at the event, which comes from students’ activity fees.
The reaction spurred UF to defend ACCENT’s decision to invite the duo to speak, reiterating its devotion to “freedom of expression” and ensuring that a “wide variety of viewpoints are heard on campus.”
The University, in its statement on freedom of expression, has committed itself to ensuring that a wide variety of viewpoints are heard on campus as well as to protecting the First Amendment rights of all those in attendance,” UF said in a statement Wednesday. “The University believes it is an essential component of its academic mission to foster an environment where divergent ideas, opinions and philosophies, new and old, can be rigorously discussed and critically evaluated.”
With Trump and Guilfoyle slated to speak, aggrieved UF students are planning a #ChompTrump protest on the University Auditorium lawn. One event on Facebook, titled “Protest: Say NO to Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle,” claims the pair’s appearance is an “insult to the multicultural organizations that have had their funds stripped away from them by Student Government.”
“Join us at 5:30 PM outside the venue as we #ChompTrump and send a clear message to the Trumps that hatred and bigotry are not welcome on our campus,” the event’s description reads.
Over 400 people marked that they are going to the protest, which begins at 5:30 p.m. EST.
“We do NOT support the usage of our student fees to fund a Trump campaign event on OUR campus and further promote the hateful rhetoric of this Administration,” one of the posts on the event’s page reads. “#CHOMPTRUMP.”
“Student fees should NOT be used to fund this toxic event,” another post on the page adds.
Another group, No Nazis at UF, is demanding UF to cancel the event altogether.
The group is expected to hold its protest in the Turlington Plaza at 5 p.m. EST.
The group also advertised its Wednesday night event of Anti-Don Jr. Sign-Making in anticipation of his Thursday evening appearance.
Despite the protesters’ accusations of a lack of diversity in ACCENT speakers, ACCENT has extended invitations to 33 speakers over the last four years. Of those, “six have been women and 11 have been people of color,” Gainesville reported.