Planned speeches by Charlie Kirk, Lara Trump on NC State’s campus spark protests

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Protesters will be out at NC State University as a campus group hosts a conservative panel for a planned campus appearance.

Controversial speaker Charlie Kirk as well as Lara Trump, President Trump’s daughter-in-law and senior adviser of his re-election campaign are set to speak at the event Wednesday evening.

Kirk is the founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative non-profit organization, which is active on college campuses.

On Monday, cell phone video shows a confrontation among students in NC State’s Free Expression Tunnel.

Jack Bishop, son of Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC 9th), was in the tunnel with friends to promote Wednesday’s event with Kirk and Trump.

In the video, students who planned to protest the event arrive with spray paint and begin covering up what Bishop’s group posted.

At one point, Bishop moves along the wall toward the students who are spray painting. After a brief exchange, a student spray paints him in the face.

Bishop said, “I wasn’t asking for escalation. No, me protecting the advertisement that we put up had nothing to do with me wanting to escalate it. I didn’t want to escalate it. I was hoping that they would remain as peaceful as possible.”

NC State spokesman Mick Kulikowski said university police referred the students they could identify to the Office of Student Conduct.

In an email he wrote:

“The event tonight is not sponsored by the university, but by the student chapter of Turning Point USA. University policy permits student groups to invite speakers to campus, and the university provides access to certain campus venues for that purpose. NC State cannot take away that right or withdraw those resources based on the views of the invited speaker. Once a student group has invited a speaker to campus, NC State will act reasonably to ensure that the event proceeds free from disruption or violence.”

NC State spokesman Mick Kulikowski

A coalition of student groups, including Young Democratic Socialists of America, will protest the event.

“NC State’s student body has come together in a coalition to say that the hatred that those two people and Turning Point USA has consistently preached is not welcome on our campus,” said Skye McCollum, co-chair of activism for YDSA at NC State.

McCollum, who said she was not involved in Monday’s incident in the Free Expression Tunnel, said she’d heard two students were referred to the student conduct office because of what happened.

NC State did not confirm that number.

In a statement, Rep. Bishop wrote:

Our universities are beacons for free speech and intellectual freedom — unless a student has the gall to voice support for President Trump or conservative ideas. I commend Jack Bishop and other young conservatives for speaking up, refusing to be intimidated, and taking in stride the hallmark assaults of the ‘tolerant’ left. I am confident that UNC System President Bill Roper and NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson will appropriately protect these students’ free expression rights, as the Campus Free Speech Act requires.”  

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