The immortal William Shakespeare wrote many famous verses, but among the most famous is a particular set of lines from Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo says, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” The implication is that we should judge people by who they actually are, rather than by what name they are called. Yet, one conservative speaker is being persecuted by academics who clearly haven’t read up on their Shakespeare.
Cherise Trump is in no way related to Donald Trump. A quick internet search makes this fact abundantly clear. Yet, when Young Conservatives of Texas asked Cherise to speak at Trinity University in San Antonio, the school administration required her to purchase special event insurance in order to speak on campus, all because her last name is Trump. The requirement had nothing to do with the topic of Cherise’s speech. As executive director of a group called Speech First, she was coming on campus to talk about free speech. Yet, speakers on much more controversial topics like critical race theory and immigration were given no such requirement.
In an email to the Young Conservatives group, an administration official explained that “there is a potential for others to mistakenly believe that Cherise Trump is related to Donald Trump which may attract opposing groups.” In other words, anything with the word “Trump” on it must be punished, even if entirely unrelated to The Donald.
I wish there was a better ending to this sad story, but Cherise’s organization did end up buying the unnecessary insurance policy rather than fight the school. Nevertheless, this incident provides a sad commentary on the state of our nation’s college campuses. Free speech can be punished merely for the appearance of associating with a prominent leader of the conservative movement. Rather than targeting specific viewpoints, institutions of higher learning should be welcoming different viewpoints to expose their students to as many perspectives as possible. The pursuit of truth is impossible where dissension is not permitted. To punish even those that bear the same last name as a dissenter is simply beyond the pale.