Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk’s appearance at KU Wednesday to test campus security, students’ beliefs

Traditional American values of free speech, free markets and limited government are a surprisingly tough sell today – as evidenced by the need for, and the experience of, Turning Point USA.

Just weeks after a mob menaced the freedom-touting organization’s event at the University of Memphis, TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk is set to speak as part of his “Live Free Tour” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Kansas’ Budig Hall in Lawrence.

A few remaining tickets are still available here. The hall holds up to 1,000.

Despite the mayhem in Memphis – caused in large part, Kirk maintains, by a university administration bent on sabotaging the event – TPUSA College Field Representative Makaylee Hawkins tells The Heartlander that KU and Lawrence officials appear helpful in attempting to secure Kirk’s appearance Wednesday.

You never know, though.

“It’s kind of hard to tell,” she says. “We’ve seen a couple of things, a couple of rumors about potential protesters. There were protesters last semester when we had [gender detransitioner] Chloe Cole on campus. It was pretty much peaceful, though, mostly just people kind of holding up signs and then protesting silently inside. 

“As far as right now, we don’t expect anything too crazy, but we’re not going to expect nothing. So, it’s kind of up in the air at the moment, but we’ll just have to see.”

The tour, she says, is a chance for Kirk to challenge students on college campuses, which are notoriously liberal, to either question or stand up confidently for their beliefs.

“We’re really just trying to help people have conversations on campus – and help people not be afraid to stand up for having platforms for them to speak on on their campus; we’ve had a lot of situations where Turning Point USA clubs aren’t allowed on campuses at all. And it’s because they just don’t understand what we stand for, and they assume things about us. 

“But really, we just want to be able to communicate free speech for students on campus [who] have more conservative values and feel like they’re not allowed to have those values at their more left-leaning campus.”

Conservatives don’t feel all that welcome at the University of Kansas, but Hawkins says she sees a great deal of passion among right-leaning students at KU, and she hopes Wednesday’s event will only grow that.

Meanwhile, Kirk posted on X after the Memphis melee that he wants that state’s lawmakers to investigate the incident and the administration’s handling of it, while also threatening legal action:

“I will be asking TN lawmakers to investigate if the University of Memphis colluded with local protesters to sabotage last night’s TPUSA event with Kyle Rittenhouse. We may also file our own lawsuit on viewpoint discrimination. Stay tuned!”


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