SEVERE WX : Air Quality Alert View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Virtual event sparks controversy at SOU

The event titled, “Why I Left Antifa” is a virtual event organized in part by the College Republicans organization at SOU.

Posted: Jun 1, 2020 6:20 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2020 2:17 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. – A zoom event has started some controversy on Southern Oregon University’s campus.

The event titled, “Why I Left Antifa” is a virtual event organized in part by the College Republicans organization at SOU.

The event is open to the public and includes a speech by Gabriel Nadales, followed by a Q&A. Gabriel is the Leadership Institute’s Student Rights Advocate and a former member of Antifa.

Southern Oregon University has posted a statement on their Facebook page and issued the following statement to NewsWatch 12.

“SOU strongly supports the First Amendment. It would be unconstitutional for SOU, a state university, to block a speech or discussion on campus because we oppose the perspective of the speaker. SOU supports and adheres to the First Amendment principle that enables protestors in Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland and everywhere else in this country to speak out. The university would jeopardize those protesters’ free speech rights if it were to shut down an alt-right speech event, because others would use SOU’s actions to justify barring legitimate protest. We may consider alt-right speech to be abhorrent but it is still protected by the First Amendment, so long as it is confined to speech activity. Should anyone's conduct cross over to hate crimes, the university would stand ready to intervene.”

One student tells NewsWatch 12 they fear this event will turn hateful and could incite other hate-filled movements and events in the future.

“I'm not concerned, personally, because this is a zoom event and you do have to sign up for it. I'm more concerned about the after affects that are going to happen if they see ‘Oh, I can have this event. How much further can I push it?’,” said Michea Bonilla, a student as SOU.

Bonilla says his concern only grows in light of recent vandalism that’s been reported on SOU’s campus.

“With the events that have been happening last term and this term on campus, with the rise in hate speech the rise in racist speech; one of our RA’s who had the N-word scribbled on her door, the swastika is that’s been carved into an elevator on campus,” said Bonilla.

The President of College Republicans at SOU tells NewsWatch 12 he doesn’t expect the event to turn hateful.

“I think its really important to have a dialogue about issues,” said Gabriel Braet, President of College Republicans at SOU. 

Braet says Nadales was asked to speak because of his background.

“This person has been a part of Antifa so he understands the reason for why people want to be a part of it. I don’t see why he would say anything that’s necessarily hateful but again you know that would be his prerogative and if he says something that I disagree with I’m fine with calling that out,” said Braet.

Addressing recent protests throughout the nation and President Trump's recent comments regarding Antifa, Braet said the event has grown in relevance, “coincidentally, it seems to be more of an issue now than it was when we started planning this," said Braet.

On SOU’s web page where the event is posted there is a paragraph that reads, “Southern Oregon University actively promotes freedom of expression and encourages civil dialogue throughout the educational process, even if the resulting speech expresses views that may contradict our university values. SOU does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in student-sponsored events or activities but is committed to providing an environment where all are provided an equal opportunity to learn, succeed, and explore.”

The event is scheduled for tomorrow. Participants must register.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33509

Reported Deaths: 559
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7274140
Marion477996
Washington461560
Umatilla300441
Clackamas246663
Malheur165030
Lane129317
Jackson11906
Deschutes87312
Yamhill77414
Jefferson5458
Polk53515
Linn53213
Morrow5136
Lincoln48113
Union4462
Benton3286
Wasco2964
Klamath2902
Hood River2520
Douglas2434
Clatsop2210
Josephine2042
Columbia1841
Coos1600
Baker982
Crook631
Tillamook530
Lake340
Wallowa331
Curry320
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant100
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 819115

Reported Deaths: 15885
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2702996576
Riverside594051226
San Bernardino55203955
Orange537511268
San Diego47180783
Kern32073369
Fresno28621390
Sacramento22590416
Alameda21383412
Santa Clara21379322
San Joaquin20411456
Contra Costa16793207
Stanislaus16512362
Tulare16204263
Ventura12875150
Imperial11908320
San Francisco11275104
Monterey1005073
San Mateo9990150
Santa Barbara9164113
Merced8961143
Kings768180
Sonoma7578122
Marin6734119
Solano644571
Madera458368
San Luis Obispo361231
Placer360448
Butte284844
Yolo282855
Santa Cruz239410
Napa172713
Sutter172011
San Benito135211
Yuba11728
El Dorado11514
Mendocino95418
Shasta94320
Lassen7410
Glenn5963
Tehama5855
Lake56611
Nevada5417
Colusa5356
Humboldt5128
Calaveras32214
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18815
Mono1662
Siskiyou1660
Del Norte1441
Mariposa762
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 61°
Brookings
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 63°
Crater Lake
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 61°
Grants Pass
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 61°
Klamath Falls
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 61°
Very warm, dry and smoky week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Thursday, October 1 morning weather

Image

Wednesday, September 30th Evening Weather

Image

Wednesday, September 30 morning weather

Image

Tuesday, September 29th Evening Weather

Image

MEDFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT RESPONDS AFTER EXPLICIT 'ZOOM BOMBING'

Image

Tuesday, September 29 morning weather

Image

Possible housing solutions after wildfires

Image

Monday, September 28th Evening Weather

Image

Similarities in days had southern Oregonians on edge

Image

Monday, September 28 afternoon weather