Charlie Kirk fuels tension within rivaling political views at UCSB

Protesters gather on March 1 in front of Campbell Hall at the University of California Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, Calif. The protester (center) puts her hand up in front of a supporter of Charlie Kirk.

Angel Corzo, Staff Writer

The arrival of conservative activist, Charlie Kirk, at the University of California Santa Barbara, sparked controversy between protesters and supporters on Wednesday, March 1.

Kirk is the founder and president of Turning Point USA, an organization that serves to spread American-conservative values of free market and limited government to high school and college campuses.

Chants and preaches amplified by the megaphones of student protesters roared through the air in front of UCSB’s Campbell Hall, where Kirk planned to speak alongside members of the campus’ Turning Point USA chapter who organized the event.

As displayed on Kirk’s twitter, the activist has openly expressed anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant beliefs, to name a couple.

“F Charlie Kirk,” protesters shouted. “Fascists go home.”

A line of people formed on March 1, 2023 on both sides of Campbell Hall at the University of California Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, Calif. People waited in the lines to hear a speech from American conservative activist Charlie Kirk. (Bailey Schroerlucke)

Lined up across both sides of the hall, locals and supporters of Kirk awaited entry to the free political event.

“It’s a good thing that UCSB, even though it’s a liberal bastion, would hold a conservative speaker,” said Greg Hammel, a local resident. “I believe in what [Kirk] says first, and second I want to give UCSB credit for having him.”

While chants from the protesters repeatedly prevailed over opposed comments thrown back at the group, tensions grew as some defenders of the event drew closer, exchanging more intimate debates with the students.   

“I feel empowered, I feel angry that the university allowed this under the guise of free speech,” an undergraduate UCSB protester, who asked to keep their identity anonymous, said.

Meanwhile, other adversaries of Kirk did their part in spreading awareness to people in attendance.

“I think people should be aware of some of the views that he has…Some of them I believe are harmful, and a lot of students share the same sentiment,” said Delaney Moss, a freshman at UCSB. 

As people filled up the hall, and doors closed for the commencement of the event, protesters continued to stand their ground outside.

“Silence is compliance,” read one of the protester’s signs.