By David Villegas
Professor Luigi Zingales from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business invited former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon to speak at a future event on the campus of UChicago, an invitation that has caused an uproar among UChicago students, faculty and alumni.
A letter from current undergraduates as well as another one from alumni were written to pressure UChicago president Robert Zimmer and provost Daniel Diermeier to rescind Bannon’s invitation.
The letter from current UChicago undergraduates says that his presence threatens the safety of vulnerable communities on campus and residents of the largely black surrounding neighborhoods.
Student organizers from the UChicago branch of the International Socialist Organization, Democratic Socialists of America and Students for Justice in Palestine along others staged a march around the Harper Center at 58th St. and Woodlawn Ave. in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
According to Michael Shea from ISO-UChicago, they along with these other organizations put together this rally to protest Bannon’s speech.
“It was originally called by a group of 100 people at an organizational meeting the Friday before,” he said.
There are, however, students who would want Steve Bannon to speak on campus, even if they don’t agree with his views.
Matthew Foldi, the president of the UChicago College Republicans, said that they had nothing to do with the event hosted by Professor Zingales or the rallies against it.
“We firmly oppose the heckler’s veto, and support Professor Zingales’ right to invite speakers to campus,” Foldi said.
“As a business school, our primary mission is to form new business leaders of the world,” said Professor Zingales. “I firmly believe that the current problems in America cannot be solved by demonizing those who think differently, but by addressing the causes of their dissatisfaction,” Zingales said.
Activist Todd St. Hill, who spoke at the rally, felt that white supremacy is the reason Steve Bannon was invited to speak in Hyde Park.
“It is the same idea that lead people like Professor Zingales to invite white supremacists to this university’s campus that is already guilty of silencing voices of workers, students and survivors of sexual assault,” St. Hill said. “It is because of us coming together like this that is going to send him packing.”