The six leading candidates for a vacant U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana are set to debate in front of an empty room Wednesday evening at Dillard University, a historically black college in New Orleans.
Even if you could get past the optics of a virulent racist and anti-Semite stepping foot on a historically black university campus, debate sponsor Raycom Media has taken the extraordinary step further, banning all students, media, and members of the public from the auditorium where the debate will be held.
That means that Duke and his competitors will spend the hour-long debate speaking to a largely empty auditorium, with only television producers and five attendees chosen by each candidate, the Acadiana Advocate reported.
Dillard students aren’t taking Duke’s arrival lying down. A Fusion VJ in New Orleans captured powerful images of students out protesting the white supremacist’s presence.
In an open letter, a group called Socially Engaged Dillard University Students said Duke’s presence on campus poses a safety risk to its students.
“Everything David Duke promotes is an anathema to us, a Historically Black College & University,” the letter reads. “Instead of denying the presence of this terrorist onto our campus, our school’s president has assured his safety by Dillard University armed police, against us, the Dillard University student body.”
Fusion journalists also captured video of the protests as they unfolded, with students chanting, “No Duke, no KKK, no fascist USA.”
A freshman student told local news station WDSU that she planed on protesting Duke’s appearance, saying, “I don’t understand why they are providing a venue for someone who is associated with a past like that.”
C-SPAN will broadcast the debate tonight at 8 p.m. ET. After the chance to spew hate speech to a whole new audience, Duke will hopefully be shut out of the spotlight indefinitely.