Tonight, though, Our President will be conducting one of his rallies in the Arena, concurrent with the tip-off of a home Bucks game, and counterprogramming the latest Democrat purity test show, which will be the final televised candidate forum before Iowans deal a few hands of cards and caucus.
I noticed several speakers at the December commencement drawing attention to the university's ranking among the 131 universities ranked R-1 for research; and more than a few students and staff would like to have the university ranked among the numerous institutions ranked W-1 for wokeness.
In the latest sign that virtually everything is politically divisive, the location of President Donald Trump's Jan. 14 campaign rally has become something of an issue because it bears the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's name and its Panther mascot.That's likely to get the chancellor in trouble with the woke crowd, as "viewpoint neutrality" is contrary to what Critique of Pure Tolerance teaches is "acceptable at an inclusive, diverse public university."
Opposition spilled across social media in the days following the official announcement, with commenters suggesting that it gave the appearance of UWM endorsing the event. Some went further, saying a Trump rally is the equivalent of a "hate rally" and questioning where the line is between free speech and what is acceptable at an inclusive, diverse public university.
Chancellor Mark Mone this week published a letter to the UWM community, noting first that UWM neither owns nor books the UWM Panther Arena. The university bought naming rights to the building in 2014 but has no control over scheduling decisions beyond its own events.
Mone went on to note the university has historically hosted presidential candidate visits from across the political spectrum and will continue to do so.
"As a public university, we do not restrict the use of our facilities based on the content of any individual or entity’s message," Mone wrote. "Such viewpoint neutrality is consistent with our commitment to free speech and academic freedom and is legally required of us as a public entity."
I have plans for this evening that don't include either the candidate forum or the rally. Perhaps Our President will have an opportunity to acknowledge UWM as an unofficial host, or perhaps to suggest that "Keeping America Great" includes studying at the land-grants, mid-majors, and regional comprehensives.