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Conservative pundit Ann Coulter may speak on campus

Published: January 14, 2005
Section: News


Ann Coulter, a controversial conservative political pundit, may be visiting Brandeis to speak to students in early April. The event, scheduled to take place on April 7, is being organized by the Brandeis Republican Club. So far they have received $5,000 of the $28,000 necessary to pay Coulters speaking fee and compensate her for personal expenses in coming to Brandeis.

According to Republican club officer Vincent Capanelli 06, she will speak about left-wing vs. right-wing politics in general, such as their differences in such topics as national security and social issues.

Her appearance at Brandeis is not finalized yet, and according to Capanelli the Republican Club should know what its funding situation is within the next few weeks. He said they will know at that time if Coulters visit will occur.

A week prior to the event, the Republicans are planning on showing a documentary about Coulter titled “Is it true what they say about you, Ann?” Also, according to a money request they submitted to the Finance Board (F-Board) there will be a question and answer session, as well as a book signing, immediately following the event.

According to Capanelli the Republicans anticipate much excitement for the discussion and book signing, and feel that it will be a positive experience for all who attend. He said their belief is that Coulters visit will unify campus because everyone, regardless of his or her place in the political spectrum, can enjoy it.

We never considered other speakers, he told the Hoot. We knew right away we wanted her since shes one of the most popular conservative pundits out there right now, with four New York Times best-sellers under her belt.

We also felt it would be nice to have her on the Brandeis campus, as having such a conservative speaker would probably further the push for diversity, Capanelli wrote. Plus, many people in the club are avid readers of her, and so are used to her style and find her very witty, intelligent, and hilarious.

Around 300 students are expected to listen to Coulters speech, but Republican Club members feel the number could grow to upwards of 1,000 attendees. Members of the surrounding communities will be welcome to attend, as well according to Capanelli.
According to Capanelli the event is anticipated to start discussion among students about differing political beliefs.

The Republicans feels that security will not be an issue for the Coulter visit. Though Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan was unavailable for comment due to beginning-of-the-semester duties, the Club affirmed that it had spoken with the Brandeis Police and were securing officers and metal detectors for the event. This is included in the cost.

The Republican Club has begun seeking out funds in order to bring Coulter to campus. The F-Board allocated $5,000 for this event as part of the mini-marathon toward the end of last semester.

F-Board Chair Andrei Khots 05 stated that the amount was around the typical allocation for a major event on campus. He said that the amount might have been a little higher than past events because of a combination of factors.

[The F-Board] had more efficient budgeting this year, so all clubs were able to receive a little more money, he told the Hoot.

The Republican Club also was reportedly very detailed and organized in their funding request, having worked out a majority of event specifics prior to presenting their request.

Khots also said that F-Board is trying to fund events representing diverse ideas. Most speakers dont come reflecting conservative ideas, and we wanted to make sure we could represent them when we could, he said.

In order to gain funds to cover the rest of the expected $28,000, the Republican Club is seeking help from the Student Union Senate, as well as several academic departments and the Office of Communications.

Capanelli said, Were also looking at conservative/Republican organizations around the country that usually help fund conservative speakers on college campuses.
This week, the Republicans are on the Union Senate agenda and are asking the senate for $2,000 to help with funding.

The Senate would very willingly open debate about this money request if the club was able to show fundraising success for the other $18,000, Senator for class of 2007 Jenny Feinberg 07 told the Hoot. Until then, its futile for the senate to consider the requested $2,000.

Coulter has become famous in recent years with her outspoken comments and opinions on political issues. She has written four books and has been a guest on many talk and debate television programs, including Good Morning America, Wolf Blitzer Reports, and The OReilly Factor. Her latest book, How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must), reached stores last October and has been on the New York Times best-seller list for the past 13 weeks.

Bill Maher said it best when he said The conservative movement has found its diva, Capanelli said.