The announcement that former Vice President Mike Pence will be speaking about his policy agenda for Republicans at the University of Virginia next week seems to be causing some controversy at the university.
The April 12 event is being hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the University of Virginia, which is tied to the conservative group Young America’s Foundation but not affiliated with the university. Pence’s appearance is part of Young America’s Foundation’s Ken & Janice Shengold “Advancing Freedom Lecture Series”, which had previous stops at Stanford University and the University of Iowa. Students and other demonstrators protested against the former vice president’s appearance on both those campuses, and his stop at the University of Virginia seems to be no exception.
Before the event, UVA’s campus newspaper, the Cavalier Daily, published an editorial on March 17 calling out school leaders and labeling Pence’s views on LGBTQ individuals and their rights, immigrants and minorities as dangerous rhetoric that “is not entitled” a platform. This attempt at censorship has not gone unnoticed, as this op-ed in The Washington Post says that Pence has faced backlash from Republicans and Democrats alike and “deserves to be heard.”
“Whatever one’s views on former vice president Mike Pence — ours have been critical — there’s no denying that efforts to silence and cancel him have been bipartisan. They are also unwarranted,” The Washington Post’s editorial board wrote.
The topic of Pence’s talk seems to be his recently revealed “Freedom Agenda,” which provides a framework for Republican congressional candidates for this year’s midterms, including proposals to cut taxes, enhance the US Navy’s fleet and make investments in new technology. The agenda also sticks with far-right talking points, including a goal of ending “‘woke culture in the military.”
These talk and controversies seems to lean fuel to the speculations that Pence is planning a run in 2024.