TPUSA: University of Memphis 'robbed us'

TPUSA: University of Memphis 'robbed us'

TPUSA: University of Memphis 'robbed us'

An organizer of Kyle Rittenhouse's recent visit to the Tennessee university says the event was not what it should've been.

Rittenhouse has garnered immense backlash following his acquittal after defending himself against rioters as a 17-year-old in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020. Since his trial, he has advocated for gun rights and the Second Amendment, often referencing the misinformation surrounding his story.

Anne-Elizabeth Matheny, a college field representative for Turning Point USA (TPUSA) and the founder of the Turning Point USA chapter at the University of Memphis, says they decided Rittenhouse should come speak and share his story "because the media made him guilty before he even got the chance to a free and fair trial."

In his case, the media completely changed his story, and the same thing happened with this event. For one thing, if the university had let Turning Point handle the ticketing, Matheny says the event could have been much better controlled.

Matheny, Ann-Elizabeth (Turning Point USA) Matheny

"There were 40-50, maybe even 60 people that came and were not able to get in because we had no access to the ticketing system," she details. "The University of Memphis robbed us of it and took it from us the day of the event. We had no say on who was coming in and who was coming out because the University of Memphis controlled basically our entire event."

She says it was disappointing because so many people had bought tickets through Turning Point's ticketing system, as they had been marketing for three weeks in advance. The university's ticketing system, however, capped out at 300.

Some students who opposed the event snagged 10-20 tickets. Matheny says protestors stood up during the event and made a scene. They got hostile toward her, and at least one tried to organize a protest inside. Then, when she introduced Rittenhouse on stage, the protestors really got loud.

Rittenhouse said something to the effect of, "It seems you guys don't want to hear from me; let's skip straight to Q and A."

Soon after that, Turning Point members and others began to leave. Video shows protestors chasing, yelling, and cursing at them. Police had to physically keep the protestors from attacking them.

"I just hope that these people feel ignorant for the way that they handled things," Matheny laments. "It's really sad that we live in a generation where individuals cannot hear another side of things."

She says being able to simply listen to opposing viewpoints is an important part of critical thinking.

TPUSA is scheduled to host Rittenhouse at Kent State University in Ohio on April 16 to "encourage conservatives at Kent to speak out more," though students are actively petitioning their school to cancel the event.