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Conservative Speaker Elisha Krauss Emphasizes Freedom of Speech, Criticizes Press

By Gene Crunk
Hottytoddy.com Intern

*Editor’s Note: Hottytoddy.com is operated by the University of Mississippi and housed in the School of Journalism and New Media. Editorial decisions are made solely by the Hottytoddy.com staff without prior review by School of Journalism and New Media superiors. 

Elisha Krauss spoke to students, faculty and staff about conservative values Wednesday night in the Student Union. Photo by Gene Crunk.

During a Young Americans for Freedom event Wedensday night in the Student Union, conservative speaker Elisha Krauss criticized the press for having bias against conservatism and strongly emphasized the values of free speech.

Krauss is a contributor for Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire, has worked for the Sean Hannity radio show, and has served as the campaign director for a Republican congressional candidate. She classifies herself as a conservative commentator on her official website, and her speech on Wednesday night spoke about traditionally Republican political values, such as opposing abortion rights and supporting the second amendment.

Days after the event was cancelled then relocated, Krauss spoke at great length Wednesday night about the importance of vocalizing one’s beliefs, emphasizing the importance of each and every person having the right to do so. She also strongly criticized the press, saying that they have “gone against Christian conservatives,” before later backtracking and saying that “true conservatives support the media.”

In an hour-long event that covered everything from gun rights to abortion, Krauss said that it was important to be willing to hear opinions that differ from one’s own. She told the audience that she believes most people are just looking for something to be offended about.

“In 2019, if you’re not offended by someone or something, you must be a soulless ghoul,” Krauss said. “You can’t even be funny anymore (without offending someone).”

Krauss also told the crowd that it was always their right to leave if they were bothered by the contents of her speech.

“If you don’t want to spend your Wednesday night listening to me, get up and go home,” Krauss said.

Krauss also criticized the “leftist professors” at the University for blaming her after reports surfaced that “neo-Nazis” were planning to attend her lecture. The University Police Department ensured tight security without interruption during the event.

One hotly debated issue that Krauss spoke about Wednesday evening was how she believes that the press “has gone against Christian conservatives.” She told the audience that “the media ignores (conservatism) because they don’t want the world to know what conservatism is.”

Krauss specifically criticized the University of Mississippi School of Journalism & New Media for such, following the Overby Center’s involvement in the controversial cancellation and relocation of Krauss’s lecture. Inaugural Fellow in the Overby Center for Southern Journalism & Politics Curtis Wilkie cancelled the original YAF lecture where Krauss was scheduled to speak stating a policy that the Center didn’t allow overly partisan groups to hold events there. The University’s administration reached out via Twitter to re-invite her to campus and vowed to find her an alternate venue.

“It’s ironic to me that the School of Journalism doesn’t want us using (The Overby Center),” Krauss said, adding that it was another example of “the media (ignoring) conservatism.” However, school officials clarified the Overby Center is its own institution and reports to its own board separate from the School of Journalism and New Media. 

Students lined the Ole Miss Student Union Wednesday night with hopes to grab a seat to see Krauss. Photo by Gene Crunk.

Krauss took the event’s original cancellation as a direct attack on her right to free speech, telling the national chapter of the YAF that the person who canceled the event probably did so to avoid “promoting free speech and discussion of ideologies he may personally disagree with.”

However, Krauss said it was important not to dwell on things when someone disagrees with someone else’s’ ideology. She echoed throughout her speech that part of the problem is how people become offended when they disagree with others.

“The bottom line is you’re not a victim. I’m not a victim. Because if you woke up in the United States today, you’re the luckiest people on God’s green earth,” Krauss said.

On Monday, the chair of the University’s YAF chapter, Sarah Croft, told Hottytoddy.com that the YAF is “clearly (a) non-partisan group.” However, on Wednesday evening, Krauss contradicted herself. 

“It is interesting to me that people said that YAF isn’t a political group,” Krauss told the audience. “Isn’t everything politics these days?”

Lauren Moses, the vice-chair of the University of Mississippi’s YAF chapter, reaffirmed the group’s official view on the issue, echoing Croft in saying that the University’s YAF chapter is “a non-partisan group dedicated to free speech and limited government” that “host conservative speakers” such as Krauss. It was not immediately discernable why the YAF hosts only conservative speakers while promoting itself as a non-partisan group.

On social media, Mississippi Governor-Elect Tate Reeves, a Republican, supported Krauss and her right to speak at the University. Reeves said he was glad that the University administration helped the YAF arrange an alternate venue.

“Ole Miss did the right thing by welcoming (Elisha Krauss) instead of barring her from sharing her views,” Reeves said on Twitter. “Mississippians are tough enough to hear a conservative speaker take Q&A, even if they disagree with her.”

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