Arizona State University releases report over conservative event backlash

After Arizona State University released a report suggesting there was "no evidence" of a campaign to smear an event featuring conservative speakers, one Republican state senator is not satisfied with the outcome.

The T.W. Lewis Center at the school hosted an event in February with conservative media personalities Dennis Prager and Charlie Kirk, as well as financial author Robert Kiyosaki. The event sparked backlash from some faculty at Barrett, the Honors College, and some students. Following the intense backlash, Tom Lewis pulled funding for the center and its executive director, Ann Atkinson, lost her job, alleging she was fired.

"The university's review found the kind of passionate discussion and debate that the First Amendment celebrates, followed by a successful event where the invited speakers reached tens of thousands of audience members," the report states. "Answering the allegations brought by Ms. Atkinson, the university's review did not find evidence that Barrett faculty ran a "national condemnation campaign." A campaign is a systematic and coordinated effort to achieve a specific outcome."

However, the university did acknowledge that there was a letter signed by faculty, along with other public opposition to the event.

"As Section 4 of this report indicates, while more than 30 Barrett faculty members signed a letter written to their dean to strongly oppose the event, our review revealed no evidence that Barrett faculty engaged in a coordinated national campaign of activities such as hiring a public relations firm, writing editorials in national publications, soliciting support from local or national media figures, soliciting news media coverage, soliciting support from political organizations, or communicating with donors," the report continues.

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