Editor’s Note: Look for more coverage of the Geert Wilders event in next week’s issue of The Temple News and on temple-news.com.
Geert Wilders came and went Tuesday night, though whether he changed any minds on Main Campus is debatable.
The controversial Dutch politician spoke in Anderson Hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, amid heightened security. The event, hosted by TU Purpose, a political and social awareness student group at Temple, went smoothly, with no arrests or violence reported.
Wilders, who remained poised throughout the event, began on a good foot, prompting laughter from the crowd as he included a few jokes in his speech.
Still, a vocal majority of students in attendance were unreceptive to Wilders’ views, booing and laughing at his more controversial statements. When a student openly laughed during Wilders’ speech, then stood up and left the lecture hall, the crowd offered him an ovation.
The tensest moment in the event came during the question-and-answer session, when a student tried making a statement he’d been prohibited to voice by organizers and David Horowitz, whose organization – the David Horowitz Freedom Center – sponsored the event. The crowd booed and chanted “free speech.” Organizers said they couldn’t allow statements because of time constraints.
The event ended about 30 minutes early. After several people read statements when given a turn at the mic, organizers from TU Purpose announced the event would end early.
Stephen Zook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.