On Monday night, Ann Coulter visited NMU.
Members from all corners of the political spectrum bought more than 1,000 tickets to Coulter’s much-anticipated speech, which was sponsored by the NMU College Republicans and held in the Vandament Arena.
Before her speech, a Truth Rally was held outside of the arena by the Progressive Student Roundtable. Many students, faculty and community members showed up to express their distaste for Coulter’s controversial beliefs.
This was both an appropriate and needed response to Coulter’s notoriously confrontational attitude.
The rally signaled a noticeable change in Northern students’ longstanding political apathy. One Northern professor even commented that it was the largest protest he’d seen since the ’60s.
However, the approximately 75 people who walked out during her speech and those who gave Nazi salutes did nothing but add fuel to the fire and indirectly-supported Coulter’s already excessive speaking fee.
While the rally conveyed an effective anti-Coulter message and did so without disrupting her speech, the walkouts achieved the exact opposite. Empty seats-rather than tickets purchased by protesters-would have sent a clearer message to Coulter: That she was largely unwanted by Northern students.
This was the message expressed in The North Wind’s Feb. 21 editorial. However, it took Coulter’s extreme reputation to motivate the student population.
The past few weeks have brought much debate and outcry from NMU students, mixing feverish support with anti-Coulter T-shirts and classroom debates.
Coulter’s visit sparked NMU’s first ever Tolerance Week, garnered membership for the Progressive Student Roundtable and inspired numerous letters to the editor in The North Wind, something that has been considerably lacking all year.
Before Coulter’s visit to campus was publicized, students seemed to have a hard time grasping the fact that they could make a change and get their voice heard at Northern. So if there is one thing to thank her for, it’s allowing students to see their own potential to make a difference.
Hopefully, now that Coulter has come and gone, students will still find reasons and causes to support and denounce, and the campus community won’t revert back to its silent and indifferent ways.