Lawrence Jones Speaks at UMN

Nick Majerus

Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief Lawrence Jones paid the University of Minnesota a visit on Wednesday night, October 17, as part of his “Liberal Privilege” tour. The event was sponsored by Turning Point and naturally, the outside of Anderson hall was outfitted to the nines with police and barricades. 

The inside of Anderson was packed full of students mingling about around a table with full Turning Point merchandise and stickers. Just inside the lecture hall, however, many anxious and excited students took their seats and eagerly awaited Jones’s lecture. 

With Lawrence Jones being the Editor-in-Chief of Campus Reform, there was bound to be some controversy. Jones opened up his lecture with a full disclosure that every opinion is valid and accepted, but there were to be no protests or interruptions during his lecture. He was speaking to those conservative students on campus who feel that they have to sacrifice and repress their conservative leanings for social acceptance – thus, the “liberal privilege.”

 Jones spoke to a crowd of just over 80 students. He aimed to inspire a new generation of conservatives to stand up for what they believe in by conveying an optimistic message with themes such as “don’t compromise on your principles” and advocating an open market of ideas here on campus. These remarks were met with smirks and reaffirming nods that moved through the crowd. Here was a place where everybody was welcome to agree with whoever they pleased with no social stigma.  

Jones spoke passionately for just over 30 minutes and then opened it up to a Q&A session, which lasted for more than 45 minutes. Members of the crowd were moved by Jones’s lecture. Some even felt that they had to go up and shake his hand after praising him in their question. 

Most questions were the typical fluff which is to be expected at these kinds of events, but one question, in particular, stood out. A black conservative student here stood up and emotionally asked Mr. Jones how to respond to liberals or other black students who call him an “Uncle Tom.”

Jones reaffirmed his earlier sentiments of “don’t compromise on your principles,” and responded with kindness and sympathy to the student. After an emotional exchange and a story from his childhood, the student sat down, satisfied with the answer. 

That particular student’s question demonstrates yet another example of liberal “tolerance” on campus, and really illustrates the need for speakers like Jones to come and show that differing opinions exist, and are accepted, in the real world.