- The Washington Times - Monday, September 25, 2017

Nearly 100 faculty members at the University of North Texas have signed an open letter condemning the university for including Donald Trump Jr. as part of a guest speaker series, saying the invitation is disrespectful to women, people of color and LGBTQ members of the community.

Mr. Trump, President Trump’s eldest son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, is slated to speak at the Denton campus on Oct. 24 as part of the Kuehne Speaker Series, which is described on its website as a “forum to engage in conversation about topics of national and global relevance,” Campus Reform reported Monday.

An open letter signed by 95 faculty members at UNT expressed “shock, dismay, and embarrassment” that the university would “stoop” to inviting Mr. Trump and called on the Board of Regents to immediately cancel the event.

The Sept. 22 letter said the invitation “evinces a stunning disrespect for women, people of color, LGBTQ members of our community, and others, and it cannot stand.” 

It also called on the board to suspend the Kuehne Speaker Series until university administrators “can devise a shared-governance process that will bring more of UNT’s stakeholders — including UNT administrators, faculty, staff, and students — together to select speakers.”

The letter argues that Mr. Trump was “born wealthy and hired by his father,” and does not have the expertise to speak on topics of “national and global relevance.”

“He certainly has not expressed ideas that rise to this level, except as negative examples of bigotry and anti-intellectualism,” the letter’s signatories said. “His only nationally relevant actions have served to embolden the ‘alt-right’ on our campus and beyond via social media, and his misbegotten foray into global affairs is currently under investigation by a special counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice.

“That anyone associated with our university would choose to associate with Mr. Trump shows distressingly poor judgment,” it added.

The letter also gave Mr. Trump “an incomplete or failing grade” on meeting UNT’s core values of “Access, Accountability, Collaboration, Diversity, Engagement, Excellence, Service, and Sustainability.”

“We therefore call on all UNT entities that have supported the Kuehne Speaker Series in the past to suspend that support for 2017-18,” it said.

In response to the letter, a UNT spokesperson said the university values freedom of expression and has invited speakers of all political stripes.

“As a public university that supports the expression of differing points of view as part of the learning process, the University of North Texas welcomes speakers who represent all viewpoints, including conservative, liberal and progressive political ideology as well as all positions in between,” the spokesperson said, according to the letter.

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