Missouri Western State University has scheduled a talk on free speech tomorrow after a student was caught panicking over the sight of a “Make America Great Again” hat on campus last week.
“It’s a symbol of white supremacy!” the young woman yells to a police officer in the recently surfaced video. “I don’t want to see that! I wake up every day and I see my people getting killed!”
The police officer who confronts the woman tries to reason with her, saying, “Hold on. Listen. What you’re doing right now doesn’t help the matter. You yelling and screaming does not—”
“Do you know what that hat symbolizes?” the woman interrupts before continuing, “All I want is for him to take [the hat] off. I don’t want to see that!”
When the officer asks her to talk calmly, she responds, “I don’t want to talk calmly. I want him to take that off.”
The scene drew about 50 onlookers, and the person wearing the MAGA hat was a high school student who was at the college to help decorate for his school’s prom, which was being held on Missouri Western State’s campus, according to newspaper The Kansas City Star.
University spokesman Kent Heier told the Star that the school is “100% supportive of free speech” in a statement, saying, “Free speech is one of our core values and another is respect. We are 100% supportive of free speech. We preserve the right to free expression for all those on this campus, students, staff, faculty and visitors.”
In another statement, Missouri Western State President Robert Vartabedian said, “Ideally, we would express our views and listen to views different from our own not with an intent to start or win an argument but to understand and be understood. That can be a challenge in a community like Missouri Western’s, where we have such a diversity of backgrounds and opinions. But it is vital.”
The school has since planned a talk on free speech scheduled for Tuesday.
On April 9th there will be a discussion in Spratt 205 speaking about Free Speech vs Hate Speech. Please feel free to come on out and be part of the conversation! pic.twitter.com/adt2h2Dq1u
— The Griffon News (@TheGriffonNews_) April 5, 2019
An event flyer posted to Twitter by the school’s newspaper, The Griffon News, reads in part: “In response to recent events, our campus community is invited to the discussion of the politics and political ideologies of free speech and hate speech, as well as the practice of information literacy when confronting inflammatory content in the media.”