CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has accepted an invitation to speak at the University of Chicago and students are responding with a protest.
University spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus said Booth School of Business professor Luigi Zingales is planning to moderate a discussion on “subjects including the economic benefits of globalization and immigration,” and invited Bannon to debate an expert in the field.
“The University of Chicago is deeply committed to upholding the values of academic freedom, the free expression of ideas, and the ability of faculty and students to invite the speakers of their choice,” the university said in a statement. “Any recognized student group, faculty group, University department or individual faculty member can invite a speaker to campus. We recognize that there will be debate and disagreement over this event; as part of our commitment to free expression, the University supports the ability of protesters and invited speakers to express a wide range of views.”
Students and some neighborhood residents chanted “Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!” as they protested Thursday outside the university’s business school. WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports.
“In response to the administration that have proven time and again to be nationalists and racists, we thought it was important to stand in solidarity and to not allow the University to put students lives in danger by allowing platforms for people who promote ideologies that lead to violence and deportation,” said Tom Gulke.
Protesters shouted, “Not Hate. No Fear. Nazi thufs aren’t welcome here!”
Steve Bannon accepted the invitation from Professor Luigi Zingales, who told the student run newspaper, the Chicago Maroon, that whether you like his views or not, he [Bannon] seems to have understood something about America that he’s curious to learn more about.
“We do not want white supremacists to be coming to our campus and propagating their hateful views,” said a member of UChicago Student Action.
When asked about whether there was some value to having Bannon speak at the University, the student said Bannon’s views were not welcomed.
“They’re just, quite frankly, discriminatory and hateful,” he said.