Archive for Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Lecture to feature right-wing commentator

March 29, 2005

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Right-wing commentator Ann Coulter has made a career bashing liberals and otherwise pushing political hot buttons.

Last year at the University of Arizona, her speech attracted two pie throwers who tossed at but missed the author.

Coulter will speak at 7 p.m. today at Kansas University's Lied Center. The event, free and open to the public, will test reaction to Coulter in a town known as the most liberal place in Kansas.

"Ann Coulter is pretty extreme, and she certainly is a lightning rod for people's opinions, whether you agree with her or disagree with her," said Toni Dixon, director of communications for Kansas University's School of Business. "You get some volatile reactions to her."

Coulter will be the 37th speaker in the Vickers Memorial Lecture Series. The series has included speakers such as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

The Vickers family suggests the speakers for the series, Dixon said.

"In this case, we know Ms. Coulter is a very controversial figure," Dixon said. "The university wanted to support the Vickers' choice in her. They (KU) felt it was very important that we bring in a diverse group and make the university a forum for critical thinking, dialogue and discussion. The university is a marketplace of ideas."

Here's Coulter's take on the Terri Schiavo case from one of her recent columns.

"Sublimely confident that no one will ever call their bluff, courts are now regularly discovering secret legal provisions requiring abortion and gay marriage and prohibiting public prayer and Ten Commandments displays," Coulter wrote. "Just once, we need an elected official to stand up to a clearly incorrect ruling by a court. Any incorrect ruling will do, but my vote is for a state court that has ordered a disabled woman to be starved to death at the request of her adulterous husband."

Dixon said neither the university nor the business school necessarily endorses Coulter's views or those of any other guest speaker.

"There's probably a disadvantage when people think that the speaker represents the point of view of the school or the university," she said. "I think they may misunderstand that we're promoting her ideas specifically, and I think that would be wrong. I think we're promoting the idea of freedom of speech."

The school has notified the KU Public Safety Office about Coulter coming, Dixon said, but Coulter's contract doesn't have any stipulations for security.

Capt. Schuyler Bailey of the KU Public Safety Office said he could not discuss precautions being taken for Coulter for fear of compromising security.

Coulter presented a speech at the University of Arizona on Oct. 21. During her speech, two men approached the stage and threw pies at her. Coulter dodged the pies, and one of the men was taken away in handcuffs, according to the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

Bailey said he had spoken with officials from the University of Arizona about the incident.

Coulter, a legal correspondent for "Human Events," has written several books including "High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton," "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right" and "How To Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)." She also writes a syndicated column for Universal Press Syndicate.

Coulter was contacted for this article but said she was unable to comment.

Tickets aren't required for the speech, but the hall's capacity is about 2,000 people. Doors to the Lied Center will open at 6 p.m. Doors to the auditorium will open at 6:30 p.m.

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