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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Kyle Rittenhouse to come to campus April 16, sparking concerns

Kyle Rittenhouse, a pro-gun activist and conservative, will be coming to the university April 16 as a guest speaker for the university’s chapter of the political student group Turning Point USA. When the group announced the news of Rittenhouse’s April 16 appearance on social media, responses and concerns quickly sparked. 

Students created a petition, with over 1,000 electronic signatures gathered as of March 18, to denounce the event and attempt to bar Turning Point USA from the university, with a protest planned in efforts to condemn him from appearing.

The university’s response shared by Emily Vincent, the university’s media relations director, to KentWired said, “As with any speaker invited to our campus, the university does not endorse or condone an opinion or point of view represented by the speaker, nor does the university advocate for any topic the speaker might discuss during their visit to campus.” 

Rittenhouse is known for his actions in August 2020, when he was 17 at the time, where he shot and killed two men and injured another in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a protest in response to police brutality. These events occurred after the killing of George Floyd, sparking protests nationwide.

A year later, Rittenhouse was found not guilty in court after the jury decided he acted in self-defense.

The university’s statement said, “As a state university, we permit groups and individuals to speak and share their views on our campus about topics they feel are important.”

Rittenhouse is expected to speak at his “The Rittenhouse Recap” event at the KIVA Auditorium at 6 p.m. on April 16. It is sponsored by Turning Point USA, a non-profit organization advocating for conservative policies across high school and college campuses who hold events with other public figures such as Tucker Carlson and Candace Owens. 

A student-led protest against Rittenhouse coming to campus is set to take place on the K at 6 p.m. on April 15. 

The university’s statement said, “Consistent with our core values, we encourage open dialogue and respectful civil discourse in an inclusive environment.”  

The university’s Turning Point USA chapter deferred KentWired to its national organization, who did not respond to KentWired’s request to comment at the time of publication.

Anthony Zacharyasz is managing editor. Contact him at [email protected].
Noah Rowe is TV2’s executive producer. Contact him at [email protected].

Dennis Farahani is a TV2 Reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

View Comments (9)
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About the Contributor
Anthony Zacharyasz, Managing Editor
Anthony is a senior journalism major with a business minor in his fifth semester at KentWired, serving as the managing editor for the spring semester. Previously, he was a reporter and general assignment editor where plenty of communication, leadership and writing skills were put to the test. Additionally, he is a part of TV2, as an anchor and segment anchor paving the way for multimedia opportunities. He enjoys writing about politics at all levels, business environments and financial matters. Contact him at [email protected].

Comments (9)

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  • H

    Hans JohnsonMar 21, 2024 at 10:28 pm

    This speaker, whose notoriety is rooted in committing gun violence, has a disastrous record of recent appearances. Numerous trusted local & national news outlets have reported on the near-violence he sparked this week at Univ. of Memphis. This is evidence that no responsible institution or administrator can ignore. It is reckless in the extreme for any place of higher education to promote an incendiary propagandist like him and not protect its stakeholders from the clearly foreseeable but preventable dangers he and his sponsors incite.

  • J

    John GMar 21, 2024 at 7:15 pm

    Hate speech is not free speech. This coward brought an assault rifle to a Black Lives Matter protest, looking for protestors to kill. The peaceful protest turned into a blood bath caused by a scared little idiot who went there looking for trouble. He is not a hero. He terrorized people exercising their free speech. He is a white supremacist who terrorized and killed people exercising their second amendment rights.

  • E

    EDMar 19, 2024 at 8:06 pm

    This is good to remember when Kent State calls asking for donations. I am fine with respecting our constitutional rights, but I believe murder will always be wrong, even in our messed up legal system. Let’s see how I feel in 2025 if you want my money.

  • M

    Margaret LeslieMar 19, 2024 at 8:00 pm

    Correction. Rittenhouse was acquitted of murder charges. He was not acquitted of shooting people. He admits freely that he did so and his actions are not in doubt. His acquittal was shameful politics and his invitation to KSU is a disgrace.

  • J

    JB SilverMar 19, 2024 at 6:53 pm

    To the students of Kent State
    You need to look at who is responsible for inviting him. There is your problem And instead of protesting throw a party someplace else and ignore those who participate in this shameful event. Then you will see who else you need to look out for. I’m old enough to remember the protest where young people were killed for speaking up against what was wrong in our government. You are our future. You deserve respect. You should be heard. As long as you remember America is first about being a diverse society. We have our differences but we’re all the same. And I more than anything, want to see you all succeed in helping our country regain the respect we deserve. And do all you can to make America the place where everyone around the world wants to be. I’m no scholar but old enough to know, that as long as we have people willing to stand up for what is right we will succeed. I admire those who are openly opposed to having this young man as a guest. His thinking is flawed. We need folks who are smart enough to know violence is not the answer to having a cohesive society. Much success and a bright healthy future to all of you. PS Learn and know the difference between what you want and what you need. Good Luck

  • K

    KyleMar 19, 2024 at 9:19 am

    It’s awesome that he is coming and TP is active at Kent State. Both sides of the political divide need to be represented on campus.

    • J

      JB SilverMar 19, 2024 at 7:01 pm

      Sorry. The last thing Kent State needs is a speaker who has shown that their answer to the problems we face is with violence. This young man armed himself and went looking for trouble. He wasn’t caught up in it he threw himself into it, traveled to get there, and helped to create a more hostile environment. Then he killed a man.

    • T

      T KingMar 20, 2024 at 8:02 am

      Organizations like TPUSA _create and profit from_ that political divide. Differences of opinion are good, but if one of the opinions is that going out of your way to kill people you disagree with is acceptable, we do not need to have that discussion, and we do not need to have people who believe that spreading their sociopathy at Kent State.

  • J

    JoanMar 19, 2024 at 8:40 am

    Free speech – all for it. But it sure seems if Turning Point USA is sincerely interested in promoting a conservative message, there are certainly better spokespersons than a fear-filled teen/young adult who resorts to violence and murder to make his case. Turning Point USA’s decision is in poor taste and it seems its intention is to only agitate and inflame. Don’t let this group’s message bring out the ugly in you. That’s probably what they’re hoping for.