A conservative college student is making waves over a requirement for prescreened questions at an event featuring leaders of the left-leaning Women’s March.
Kassy Dillon, a senior at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, says she is irked that the march activists didn’t call on students and let them ask whatever they wanted.
Dillon, president of Mount Holyoke’s College Republicans, told The Daily Signal she was shocked that she wasn’t able to ask questions at the April 7 event.
“My peers were looking around at me like ‘What is she doing here?’ and I was just upset because I wanted to ask a question,” Dillon said in the interview.
The event at her college, called the 2018 Women of Color Trailblazer Leadership Conference, featured Women’s March founders Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour.
The three women and other organizers use versions of the march around the world to promote what they consider progressive social change, which includes taxpayer-funded abortion, pay equity, and the end of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Dillon, also a correspondent for Campus Reform who has her own website, tweeted about the issues she had with the forum, noting that she wrote a tough question for the Women’s March founders but it was not picked. She wrote about her experience for The Wall Street Journal.
The event is laughable. Here’s why:
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) April 7, 2018
“I prefer to ask tough questions. This event only allowed scripted ones, because the Women’s March founders knew they couldn’t defend their ugly and radical ideas,” Dillon wrote in the Journal op-ed.
The college senior told “Fox & Friends” on Monday that, “as a conservative student,” she was ready to ask questions and listen to opinions other than her own.
Because the event featured such controversial figures, Dillon told The Daily Signal, she was surprised when she saw an audience of only about 75 in a conference room that could seat up to 1,000.
No recording or photography was allowed, Dillon said, so it was impossible for her to get audio or video of the forum.
Mount Holyoke College responded to criticism of the forum’s preselected questions with this statement:
When our students have the opportunity to engage with political figures who hold views other than their own, and to critically express their opinions, we have achieved our mission: ‘to prepare students, though a liberal education, integrating curriculum and careers, for lives of thoughtful, effective, and purposeful engagement in the world.’
But clearly that didn’t happen, Dillon said.
“I just [respectfully] listened,” Dillon told The Daily Signal.
She said she received backlash from one anonymous Twitter user, however, for not causing a scene.
“A … peer of mine, I don’t know who this person was, made a Twitter account just to criticize me for being there and not interrupting it,” Dillon said.
You sound like the real extremist. That wasn’t my point at all. My POINT was that the ENTIRE time at the talk…you were SILENT. You weren’t vocal about anything. You just sat there on your phone making negative tweets.
— Shay (@shaybutta0316) April 7, 2018
One panelist blocked her on Twitter.
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) April 9, 2018
The Daily Signal sought comment from Women’s March representatives, but did not receive a response before publication deadline.
In response to the restrictions imposed at the event, Dillon said, she created a Conservative Women Summit that took place April 11.
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) April 11, 2018
She acted as host for women with different viewpoints, including Nonie Darwish, founder of Arabs for Israel; Valentina Khomenko, an Israel fellow at University of Massachusetts Hillel; Kaya Jones, ambassador for Trump’s diversity coalition; Allie Stuckey, a host for conservative news and opinion outlet CRTV; and Beverly Hallberg, president of District Media Group, which helps scholars and others communicate more effectively.
No two speakers were alike, she said. They included a “never-Trumper,” a “reluctant Trumper,” and a Trump advocate, and they said some controversial things.
“Expose the bias, but still reach out a hand and try having real dialogue, because we’re here to change hearts and minds,” Dillon said of her advice to fellow young conservatives.
This report has been modified to delete an inaccurate reference to efforts to bolster attendance at the event.