AUDIO: Daines criticizes UM, defends provocateur’s free speech rights

Sen. Steve Daines delivered the attached speech on Tuesday night during the Jeff Cole Memorial Lecture at the University of Montana campus. Did the state’s Republican senator hit the mark in defending free speech, or did he overlook the speaker’s documented verbal attacks on women, minorities and other groups?

“It’s truly an honor to be saying a few words tonight at the Jeff Cole 10th annual distinguished lecture. But it’s especially wonderful that Mike Adams will be the distinguished speaker. A special thanks for Maria Cole for being here and standing strong for what is right.

“By gathering here this evening, you’re sending a strong message that our freedom of speech is worth fighting for. You’re challenging leaders of our state’s academic institutions that faith and conscious can’t be swept aside when people walk through university gates.

“When I first heard the University of Montana School of Journalism had tried to refuse to let Mike Adams speak on campus because of his religious and political beliefs, I was stunned. With this decision, a public, tax-payer funded university, and a journalist school no less, was ignoring the most basic principals of the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment is pretty simple. We have the right to free speech. We have the right to the freedom of religion. This amendment protects our freedom of expression and assembly, and it protects the freedom of the press.

“In case the University of Montana forgot, that includes everyone, from journalism students to Missoulian reporters, and from MSNBC commentators to Townhall.com columnists.

“Lux et veritas – light and truth. Believe it or not, that’s the UM motto. But by seeking to stop Mike Adams from coming to this campus, because of his faith and politics, I don’t see a lot of light or dedication to truth coming from the journalism school leaders.

“As we welcome Mike Adams to tonight’s Jeff Cole 10th annual distinguished lecture, I urge you all to seek the truth, even when it’s hard and especially when people stand in your way. Shine a light on those who attempt to restrict our freedoms and our rights, and stand true to what you believe.”