A professor at the University of Connecticut is encouraging students to protest a conservative event on Tuesday in which Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens are scheduled to speak. Professor Martha Cutter is even encouraging students to reserve tickets and not show up, in order to obstruct the ability of other students to attend the event.
University of Connecticut (UConn)’s Turning Point USA (TPUSA) student group is planning to host the organization’s founder and Executive Director Charlie Kirk, as well as Communications Director Candace Owens on Tuesday at the university. One professor is encouraging students to protest the occasion in a manner that students say may hinder the event’s attendance.
UConn professor Martha Cutter has been encouraging students to protest the TPUSA event by suggesting that they reserve tickets and not attend, in order to “prevent somebody else from going,” or attend the event in protest, according to the TPUSA students putting on the speaking event.
Multiple TPUSA students told Breitbart News that while they recognize the act of protesting is an individual’s First Amendment right, they take issue with the second component of the professor’s suggestion, to reserve tickets with the intention of not attending the event, as they believe this behavior will impede on other students’ ability to obtain tickets to the event.
“I think we’re going to see some repercussions from this,” said UConn TPUSA chapter president Joseph Gatti to Breitbart News, “This professor that told a ton of students to do this, I think her intentions are to sabotage the event and take tickets away from people who want to attend.”
A second student, who prefers to remain anonymous, told Breitbart News that professor Cutter had specifically suggested to him that he reserve a ticket, even if he does not intend to go to the event, as doing that would, at the very least, prevent somebody else from being able to hear from Kirk and Owens.
Professor Cutter told the student, “You can get a ticket and you can decide [what you want to do],” said the professor, according to the student, “It’s called Turning Point USA — you can either go or not go — like, if you get a ticket and you can prevent somebody else from going, you know?”
The student added that the professor had also mentioned she would likely attend the event, “not to yell” at Owens, but to “be hostile.”
“I don’t want her to feel like we support what she’s saying,” professor Cutter told the student.
Gatti told Breitbart News that he welcomes opposing voices to attend the TPUSA event on Tuesday, but that he hopes individuals who disagree will have the decency to engage in “a respectful dialogue.”
“I would love for [professor Cutter] to participate in a marketplace of ideas and have discourse in an appropriate and professional manner,” said the TPUSA chapter president, “I hope she can show students the same respect that we show her.”
“But to sign up and take a ticket away [from students who want to attend], to me, is deplorable,” continued Gatti, “because this event is supposed to bring something to this campus that we don’t see enough of — conversation and dialogue that we don’t see from the other side.”
A third student told Breitbart News that he was told more than one professor on campus has been instructing students to reserve tickets and plan on not attending the event.
“This strategy is meant to specifically stifle the turnout of the event,” said UConn TPUSA vice president Chris Robitaille to Breitbart News.
“Unfortunately, the school will not let us oversell tickets, as that is truly the only way to combat this,” added Robitaille, “Ideally, we would have liked to have a type of reserve ticketing to ensure that the venue is filled.”
“UConn believes universities should be places where differing views can be expressed respectfully, and where our students and other guests can consider and challenge a variety of opinions,” said UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz to Breitbart News.
“We respect the fact that some events elicit strong responses from people who disagree with the speakers’ views, but our goal is to ensure that free speech is protected and promoted on campus in a safe manner, regardless of the content,” added Reitz.
Professor Cutter did not immediately reply to a Breitbart News request for comment.