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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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NU College Republicans hosts conservative speaker with reinstated ASG funding

Samantha Powers/Daily Senior Staffer
Conservative activist Alan Keyes speaks to a small crowd of NUCR and YAF members. He spoke about his Catholic faith, saying his identity as a “child of God” came above his American identity.

Republican politician and diplomat Alan Keyes spoke Thursday night at an event sponsored by the Northwestern College Republicans. In front of a small crowd, Keyes discussed America’s reckoning with its history of slavery, his Catholic faith and his disbelief in communism.

“What we produce from our humanity is what we have, all of us, contributed from the diverse perspectives that God has allowed us to embrace,” Keyes said.

Keyes ran for the U.S. Senate in Maryland in 1988 and 1992 before running against former President Barack Obama for Senate in Illinois in 2004. He has also run in Republican presidential primaries three times but never secured the nomination.

Keyes famously filed a 2008 lawsuit alleging that Obama was not born in the United States, rendering him ineligible to run for president. His claim has since been proven false.

Katie Scalzo is a McCormick junior and a member of both NUCR and the NU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. She and other YAF leaders were present at the event.

“I do think that a lot of people will find … we don’t bring in crazy people,” Scalzo said. “We want to bring in people that we can stand behind and say, ‘Yes, this aligns with our group.’”

Less than 10 students attended the event. Scalzo attributed the low attendance to the minimal advertising NUCR did to promote it.

Last Spring Quarter, NUCR and YAF co-hosted conservative activist James Lindsay for a widely advertised speaker event that ended in protests from students who took issue with Lindsay’s anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. 

“It was intentional that we kept the advertising mostly to our own group,” said Weinberg senior Tharein Potuhera, acting president of NUCR. “We advertised on our own social media without really advertising to all Northwestern groups.”

The controversy surrounding last year’s speaker event resulted in ASG temporarily revoking NUCR’s activity funding, but Potuhera said funding has since been reinstated. He said NUCR paid for both Keyes’ speaking fee and the presence of Luna Security — a University-contracted company — through ASG funding.

ASG could not immediately be reached for comment on the status of NUCR’s student activity funding.

Potuhera said NUCR contracts Luna Security for events that could be contentious. The only disruption of the evening was a serenade by a saxophonist and a flutist from outside the window of Swift Hall. NUCR and YAF leadership quickly shut the windows to muffle the sound, and the event continued.

One of Keyes’ main topics of the evening was the First Amendment. He championed free speech on college campuses and spoke about his Catholic faith, connecting his belief in God to his American identity.

“The Declaration of Independence has been put in a drawer because the source of authority mentioned is no longer espoused by large portions of the American people,” Keyes said. “For what’s the source of the people’s authority and the declaration? The laws of nature, and of nature’s God.”

Potuhera said the group aims to host speakers who promote free speech.

Now a conservative activist, Keyes served in former President Ronald Reagan’s administration as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations and as Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Potuhera said Keyes’ experience in the political arena and the foreign service made him an “extremely compelling” speaker.

“He has such a global perspective, and I think that’s really important to see,” Potuhera said. “He calls himself an ongoing scholar. He said that the main thing that he took away as a diplomat is he always listens before speaking.”

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