Recently, Northwestern has experienced much debate surrounding the College Republican’s decision to invite Jeff Sessions to speak on campus. The former United States attorney general for President Trump is considered controversial for many reasons, including his oppositions to same-sex marriage and abortion, racist comments, and involvement in the Russia investigation. On Tuesday evening, people will gather in Lutkin Hall to hear Sessions explain “The Real Meaning of the ‘Trump Agenda.’” Many others, however, are expected to remain outside the doors, protesting the event and calling attention to the Sessions’ problematic actions and attitudes.
To understand how Northwestern students feel about Sessions’ upcoming talk, we polled 30 students in Norris University Center on Monday, Nov. 4 to ask whether or not they believe Sessions should be allowed to speak on campus.
The results showed that an overwhelming majority of students, amounting to 90% believe Sessions’ coming to campus should be permissible, while only 10% opposed.
To second-year Weinberg student Spencer Paige, this event presents an opportunity to challenge Sessions by engaging in protest and discourse.
“The ability of left-leaning opposition to attend and pose questions or get to hear those arguments and develop counter arguments is important, I think, regardless [of] how you really feel about him,” Paige said.
Others also noted the possible benefits of Sessions's presence.
“I think actually it’s good that he’s allowed to speak on campus,” said second-year McCormick student Molly Mudgett. “It probably raises awareness about all the messed up stuff he’s said.”
On the other hand, a fourth-year student said he feels that Sessions’ perspectives are too prejudiced to be welcomed at Northwestern.
“There’s a limitation to free speech,” he said. “That ends at overtly racist old white dudes.”
First year Weinberg student Jocelyn Gutierrez agreed.
“His views are just really discriminatory,” Gutierrez said. “I don’t think that’s the type of environment we want to support here.”
Editor's note: This article has been updated to remove a student's name to protect privacy.