Miami U students, faculty protest guest speaker - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Miami U students, faculty protest guest speaker

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Hundreds of students and faculty at Miami University protested a guest speak Wednesday at the campus.

George Will, an award winning columnist, made controversial comments towards sexual assault victims in a recent article. The university knew about these controversial comments before inviting him, but still decided to go ahead with the program.

"We need to give victims a voice. Silencing the victim is not helping anything," said Natasia Reinhardt.

About 1,100 students signed a petition to cancel the event, but the university still elected to pay George will nearly $50,000 of privately donated money.

"We knew there would be some backlash from students and faculty and staff and you know what we welcome it because we're on a campus and that's where debate and polite and intelligent conversations happen," said Claire Wagner with Miami University.

"I think we could have spent the 48 thousand dollars on far better things and far better speakers," said Madelyn Detloff, a Miami University women's gender and sexuality studies professor.

The article George Will wrote in June referred to America's "rape crisis" and he used the words "coveted status" in reference to sexual assault survivors.

"When it seemed like people who were out saying something like that traumatic has happened to them and then are belittled as if they're trying to get attention for themselves when it is not the case, I was pretty angry about that," said Detloff.

"As a survivor, as a person it's just being violated as a person all over again," said Clarity Amrein.

During the Q&A portion after when cameras weren't allowed, Will clarified saying victimization in general is a "coveted status" often times with rape because the Federal Government is trying to sweep aside the protection of the accused during due process.

"He doesn't want people to treat rape as this sort of excuse for any kind of wrongdoing that they might have done but the way he phrased it is just so scummy," said Marylee Sauder.

George Will's speaking event was cancelled at a school in California for these same comments.

Many protestors and the University say still having the event brought forth a great dialogue. The Dean of the Farmer School of Business is offering more awareness programming in light of this speech.

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