Rep. Ron Paul to speak tonight as part of Ubben lecture series
Rep. Ron Paul speaks at DePauw as part of the 2013 Ubben Lecture series. Courtesy of DePauw University
Rep. Ron Paul, who is a three-time presidential candidate, will speak tonight in Kresge Auditorium.
Paul was also named one of Time magazine's top 100 most influential people, and The Indianapolis Star named him first on the most interesting people to visit central Indiana this fall.
Doors open to students at 6:30 p.m. and the general public at 6:50 p.m. Students should bring their student ID.
"He's a well known spokesperson for the social ideological movement of libertarianism," said Brett O'Bannon, professor of political science.
O'Bannon believes that this is a good opportunity for students to better understand Libertarianism.
"It's an opportunity to see someone widely associated with these doctrines defend them," O'Bannon said. "It's an opportunity to pose a question or two to the standard bearer of contemporary Libertarianism, perhaps to get him to defend some of his controversial stuff or better explain some of his stuff."
One particular controversial issue surrounding Paul is that he will be giving a keynote address at the Fatima Center's "Path to Peace" conference in Niagra Falls, Ontario, right after speaking at DePauw. The conference is known to host some radical views.
"He has things to answer for," O'Bannon said. "[The] conference widely hailed to anti-semitic and racist sponsored by the Fatima Center. He ought to perhaps be questioned on that."
Ken Owen '82, executive director of media relations and coordinator for the Ubben Lecture Series, noted that initially, he was concerned by the news of his keynote speech.
Paul's speaker agency is run by a person of the Jewish faith, and several of the employees for the firm are Jewish, as well.
"The first thing I did was call over there, and their response was basically, 'There's no way. He's not an anti-semite. We work with him everyday. We spend a lot of time around him. He's a good man. Disregard it,'" Owen said.
Owen noted that the accusations "generated through the blogosphere," and Owen has faced some pushback for many speakers that have come to campus.
Paul is one of a few conservative political figures to come as part of the series in the last decade.
"The last time we really had somebody from the conservative side, by themselves on that stage, was Paul Bremer in 2004," Owen said.
When Paul spoke at Oberlin College, he drew about 1,200 people and Owen expects approximately the same number, but is prepared to send some people to Thompson Recital Hall and Moore Theater for overflow.
"I fully expect that we're going to be full or very close to full," Owen said. "We've set this up so students will get there first."
In addition, there will also be a live webcast of the speech that can only be accessed through a code, which will be sent in an email tomorrow.
The speech will feature a question and answer period at the end. Owen said that those seeking to ask questions should have it ready and sit in a place where they will be able to get to the microphones in the aisles.
Sophomore Zach Baker is excited for Paul speak at DePauw.
"I voted to nominate him for the republican spot for 2012," Baker said. "I am literally going to wait in line for hours, if I have to."
While Owen could not disclose how much having Paul come to campus costs, he did say that it was a decent price.
"As these things go, it isn't anywhere near the expensive end. It's in the very reasonable ball-park," Owen said. "In terms of bang for your buck, I think this is a very good value."
O'Bannon believes that challenging what students believe is an important aspect of any higher education, but especially a liberal arts education.
"I think being exposed to alternative ideas is the very essence of the educational enterprise," O'Bannon said. "If, we're here to just affirm what people believe already, then we can just go home. Our work is done."
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