Former presidential adviser Steve Bannon has accepted an invitation to speak at the University of Chicago.
Bannon, the former chief strategist under President Donald Trump, will participate in a debate at the university’s Booth School of Business, the school said in a press release.
“The University of Chicago is deeply committed to upholding the values of academic freedom, the free expression of ideas, and the ability of faculty and students to invite the speakers of their choice,” the school said in a statement.
Bannon was invited by Professor Luigi Zingales, who will serve as the moderator in a debate featuring the former White House aide. The debate will focus on the economic benefits of globalization and immigration, and will feature an expert in that field.
The invitation has generated controversy on campus, as students protested the decision on Thursday morning. Political science Professor Cathy Cohen objected to the event, according to The Maroon, the school's independent newspaper.
“With Bannon we have someone who has trafficked in white supremacist ideologies,” she said. “It is unclear what he brings to any conversation…The question has to be: at what point does free speech turn into hate speech?”
The school is still standing by the invitation and the event, saying that they want to encourage students to experience a “wide range of views.”
“We recognize that there will be debate and disagreement over this event; as part of our commitment to free expression, the University supports the ability of protesters and invited speakers to express a wide range of views,” a statement read.
A date and venue for the proposed debate have not been announced.