Community responds to March for Our Lives guest coming to campus

Hogg+speaking+during+a+March+for+Our+lives+event+at+a+High+School+in+Maine.+Photo+courtesy+of+March+for+Our+Lives+

Hogg speaking during a March for Our lives event at a High School in Maine. Photo courtesy of March for Our Lives

Jessica Wright, Asst News Editor

  The Kegley Institute of Ethics, KIE, has selected David Hogg, a Parkland, Florida school shooting survivor, and gun violence activist to be the 34th annual Charles W. Kegley Memorial Lecture speaker. Hogg is the co-founder of March for Our Lives, a youth led organization rallying against gun violence, and is also one of the founding members of Never Again MSD (Marjory Stone Douglas), another gun control advocacy group.  

  After the original announcement of Hogg’s upcoming arrival to CSU Bakersfield in the spring, debates on social media and controversial comments began to surface regarding Hogg.  

  One commenter, Hoss59, on the Bakersfield Californian’s Facebook page said, “It’s sad that this young man is making out from this tragedy, anyone can have a different opinion, but taking his first comments about riding his bike to school after the shooting, and then stating he was there, but could not provide proof/witness’ that he was there, I believe he is an opportunist.”  

  Another user, Cesareo, replied, “Actually, he was on campus during the shooting. You don’t have to believe it, but it’s a proven fact.” 

  David Irvine, on Twitter, said, “What a stupid liberal thing CSUB is doing! I hope no one shows up!!!!”   

  While the accusations of Hogg not being at the school have been debunked and proven as false with resources on websites such as Snopes and fact checker, they are still bringing in debate among viewers and readers of different media outlets.  

  The director of KIE, Michael Burroughs, spoke about finding topical speakers for their lectures at the institute, and how these speakers should be relevant to our communities, our region, and our world.  

 “We are completely okay with people disagreeing with the speaker selection, but we want to have a peaceful and informed conversation about it, so the idea of bringing Hogg is not ‘we agree with everything Hogg as ever done or will ever do’, the idea is it is fine to disagree but just come ask a question,” said Burroughs. 

  According to Burroughs, Hogg is the youngest speaker to come to the KIE. He himself is a college student attending Harvard, and plans to further engage in politics by running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives when he becomes of the eligible age. Because of Hogg’s busy schedule a specific date has not been set for the lecture, however it has been confirmed for April 2020.  

  Burroughs shed some light on the selection of Hogg as a speaker by stating, “We were really interested in speaking to undergraduates, actually, and the idea that David Hogg is a college freshman who, for better or worse, has had a tremendous political impact in our country. He underwent a tragedy, and he decided to act in the face of that tragedy, and we thought that it would be cool for undergrads to be able to engage with a young person who’s tried to engage with democracy in a positive way. So, I think it is the epitome of a topical subject right now, and hopefully events like these can be part of generating ideas and youth response to the problem.”  

  KIE is currently working on a location for Hogg’s lecture as they expect this speaker to bring a large audience, however they expect the event to either be held at the Icardo Center or the Dore Theatre. KIE has paid for the security needed for this event which will be staffed by the University Police Department.  

  When asked about the specifics of security Burroughs said, “I definitely wouldn’t say we are concerned but I would say we’re definitely prepared. For every major event we do we have security there, and actually with David Hogg, there are contracted responsibilities on our part to have a specific amount of security at the event and to make sure we are having a safe environment. I fully expect we will have a peaceful and successful event.