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May 05, 2005

University Democrats on the Ann Coulter Event

By Byron LaMasters

There's another Daily Texan story on the Ann Coulter event. Here's what they write on the arrest of Ajai Raj:

Ajai Raj, an English sophomore, was released from Travis County Jail around 3 a.m. Wednesday after being arrested for disorderly conduct during political commentator Ann Coulter's speech at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library auditorium on Tuesday.

According to the police affidavit written by an arresting officer, Raj was arrested for using "profane and vulgar language" and performing an "obscene gesture." Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500. Other offenses considered Class C misdemeanors include: minor possession of alcohol, public intoxication, noise violation and simple assault.

Later in the Daily Texan article, the University Democrats Vice President made a statement on the situation which I agree with:

University Democrats Vice President Ali Puente said even though she finds Coulter's speeches offensive, the method Raj used was wrong. However, she felt that the arrest wasn't necessary.

"I'm saddened that actions of a few individuals make people with progressive causes look bad," Puente said. "He could've chosen a more civil method of protest that would've achieved his goal."

I agree with Ali, and the decisions that the UD's made on this matter.

Update: Urban Grounds investigates... and calls me "unhinged". Me? Unhinged? Never!

More: For a history lesson, check out Booman Tribune.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at May 5, 2005 02:26 AM | TrackBack


I take it no one took my advice and stayed home??? Ann got exactly what she wanted - ATTENTION! Do you think she would stay in the spotlight if no one attended one of her hate feasts? Outside protesting would have been great.

Posted by: Nancy at May 5, 2005 06:46 AM

Good stuff Byron.

Let me clarify that the SEC has no opinion on the arrest. We felt strongly that he should have been removed but what happened after that was out of our hands and our interest.

Also to clarify, there were three sources of funding for this event were approximately:

$10,000 from the Student Events Center Distinguished Speakers Committee (Who brought Chuck D, Clinton, Russesibagina, Carson kressley, Mo Rocca, Ehud Barak)

$20,000 from the Student Endowed Centennial Lectureship which gets its money from the $2.00 optional fee. They brought Ehud Barak with us, and Colin Powell, Moore, Katherine Harris).


$2000 from the Travis County Republican Party.

So, techincally, $10,000 in student fees were spent on this event. $20,000 in student donated fees, and $2000 in other.

Posted by: matth at May 5, 2005 10:50 AM


Thanks for the clarification. I've always been happy to check off the Student Endowed Centennial Lectureship $2 fee because I've always believed it to be important that UT have the resources to bring distinguished speakers to campus.

As I've previously noted, I do not feel that Ann Coulter meets the threashold of what I would expect from a speaker on the UT campus - I just have a hard time seeing how my student fees should be used to bring a person to campus that morally equates myself and every other Democrat to terrorists.

Posted by: Byron L at May 5, 2005 11:03 AM

I said this privately to Matt, but I'll post it publicly as well - I think that you've done a great job with the SEC over the past year. While I sympathize with the concerns of many students regarding the arrest made on Tuesday night, I believe that any criticism of Matt and the SEC is misdirected.

Posted by: Byron L at May 5, 2005 11:07 AM
I just have a hard time seeing how my student fees should be used to bring a person to campus that morally equates myself and every other Democrat to terrorists.

And, in the case of M. Moore, many have a hard time seeing how their student fees should be used to bring a person to campus that morally equates terrorists with Minutmen; who actively roots for the terrorists who are shooting at our troops.

I don't think Coulter is the most distinguished of speakers either. But she's at least the equal to M. Moore.

I would have rather heard Michelle Malkin, another speaker who the liberal contingency would protest and have a problem with, but who I find to be more articulate and less vitriolic than Coulter can be.

Posted by: Robbie at May 5, 2005 11:17 AM

I'm not a big fan of Michael Moore, but putting him on the same level as Ann Coulter is completely outrageous.

And to call Michelle Malkin "less vitriolic" than Ann Coulter is also a big stretch. Let's remember that Malkin made her name by writing a book called "In Defense of Internment." I'd imagine the Japanese Americans for Internment club gets pretty lonely...

Posted by: bob at May 5, 2005 11:38 AM

Have you read In Defense of Internment? What about her other book, Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores?

I have. Great books. Both of them. I don't agree with all of her arguements (in either book), but they are well written and thouroughly researched. And are written on topics worthy of debate.

Posted by: Robbie at May 5, 2005 11:57 AM

I have almost no knowledge of "Invasion" other than reading a few (very negative) reviews.

I have read some of "In Defense of Internment" which has been universally panned by people who study Japanese internment as not only a bad argument (that interning Japanese Americans was a good idea and that we should do the same thing to Arab Americans), but also providing nothing new to the field.

Basically its rehashed garbage from an argument debunked 50 years ago with very little in the way of primary sources.

Posted by: bob at May 5, 2005 02:20 PM

On behalf of the Student Endowed Centennial Lectureship, I would like to thank all of those who attended Tuesday’s lecture with Ann Coulter.

The goal of SECL is to provide members of the University community with the unique opportunity to hear from some of the world’s most influential and engaging leaders.

While we are cognizant of the fact that many may deem our speakers controversial, we are confident that no college experience would be complete without our students having been introduced to viewpoints from all sides of the political spectrum, as this only serves to equip them with the information necessary to make up their own minds on the important issues of our time.

Take, for example, our decision to bring Michael Moore two years ago. In 2003, the decision was made to expend the $45,000 necessary to host a lecture with Moore, who, like Coulter, continues to be an influential figure in American politics. Our committee operates in a non-partisan fashion with the intellectual interests of our students as the driving force in our decisions.

Once again, thank you to all who participated in our recent event. Additionally, I would like to personally thank the Distinguished Speakers Committee, the office of the Dean of Students, Dr. Alan Sager, Floyd Resnick, Daryl Klecka, and the University Police Department for their amazing assistance in helping bring Ms. Coulter to UT.

In looking ahead to next year, we are even more excited about providing the University community with the informative and entertaining speaker programming you have come to trust from SECL.

Josh Campbell, Chairman
Student Endowed Centennial Lectureship

Posted by: Campbell at May 9, 2005 11:30 AM

Look I'm conservative and I don't care for Ann Coulter. She's not bright, she's not nuanced, and I wish she'd stay off my side. However, I do not believe in silencing anyone. People who need to heckle to prevent someone from speaking are fools. Everyone deserves the opportunity to express themselves, even those we disagree with.

Mr. Ajah should not have been arrested, he should have been escorted from the building along with the rest of the hecklers.

Posted by: Scot Ellison at May 10, 2005 07:39 AM
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