The UT chapter of the Texas Young Conservatives is attracting national attention (and scrutiny) since Monday’s announcement of their “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” event. The event, scheduled for today, invited all UT students to seek and capture “illegal immigrants” hiding around campus in exchange for $25 gift cards. In light of the subsequent media firestorm, the event has been cancelled.
Lorenzo Garcia, the event’s organizer and Chairman of the UT Young Conservatives, issued this public statement about the event’s cancellation. It cites fear of University backlash and concerns for volunteer safety as factors in the decision to scrap the event. Garcia, a former Abbott staffer and current UT student, faces excessive vilification, and harassment from friends and opponents alike.
The event was vulgar, demeaning, and indelicate. I found it offensive, and many other people did too. But is that a good enough reason to call it off? Probably not. Is it a good enough reason to send obscenity-laced death threats to a student’s personal social media accounts? Again, probably not. This was a misguided student organization’s botched publicity stunt, not a discriminatory piece of legislation our an outrageous court ruling. I value my right to speak freely, and it would be hypocritical not to value the Texas Young Conservative’s and Garcia’s right to do the same. If they were making policy, that would be a different story.