Matt Walsh event offers opportunity for discourse

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

By Caroline Cumby | Contributor

There have been several publications in the Lariat and on social media within the last week imploring the student body not only to boycott the lecture being held on April 9 by Matt Walsh, but attempting in various ways to cancel the event entirely.

While I’ve been extremely enthused by the amount of discourse this lecture has caused, even with it still being several days out, I’ve seen several issues in the arguments being made in opposition to the lecture being held, and I’d like to take this opportunity to address some of them.

As a celebrated conservative speaker, Walsh does not represent the minority opinion. This is evident in who we’ve elected as the president of the United States, as the student body of a private Baptist university in the heart of Texas and solely by the interest expressed in this event. Therefore, regardless of if you agree with what he believes, isn’t there value in hearing what he has to say? Shouldn’t we engage in discussions with the people we agree and disagree with to expand our own beliefs? Isn’t that how we grow?

From this event alone, there have been more discussions, publications and massive amounts of discourse surrounding the LGBTQ+ community at Baylor than I have seen in my entire three years here. Doesn’t that alone demonstrate the value in having people who believe strongly in what they have to say present in our academic sphere?

Something that has been very emphasized in the advertisements regarding Walsh’s lecture is the desire to have people present who disagree. There will be a Q&A session concluding the lecture where people who oppose Walsh will be first in line to pose any question regarding Walsh’s lecture. This is still the case in hopes that this discussion can remain a discussion to hear from those who passionately believe in something that others don’t.

The flyers that were posted to advertise Walsh’s lecture were provocative, to say the least. The goal of said flyers was to spark the conversation that has been happening since then; however, Young Americans for Freedom quickly realized the line they’d stepped over and printed new and tamer flyers in an attempt to apologize for said provocative advertisements. With that also being said, all of the flyers were approved by Baylor Student Activities and removing them is in direct violation of the rules enforced by Baylor.

There are very few environments where beliefs and ideas can be challenged in a safe and regulated way. We, as Baylor students, are unbelievably privileged to be allowed into such an environment. Taking full advantage of this opportunity includes inviting people in who represent something that some people may not agree with.

The other publications that have been released in the last week have included a call to action from their writer. If I were to include one here, I would ask that you consider the power of silencing. I would ask you to wonder where our country would be if we chose to silence those who share a differing viewpoint than our own. With that, I’d ask that you also consider the power of respectful conversation. Are minds and hearts changed by muffling and oppressing? Or by expressing ideas in a way that people can empathize and understand?

Caroline Cumby
Senior professional writing and rhetoric major