Naples Rep. Francis Rooney Amends Criticism of College Safe Zones


U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney has altered his position on college “safe zones,” reports Alexandra Glorioso for the Naples Daily News.

At a Naples luncheon attended by approximately 75 people, Rooney stated his intention to introduce a bill that would prevent federal money going to colleges and universities that supported safe zones.

This week, however, he amended his earlier statement, claiming he was unaware that many college safe zones are created as spaces where historically oppressed groups, such as LGBTQ+ students, can feel safe.

Image via Naples Daily News

“I would never file anything that would harm or threaten these students,” Rooney stated. “I slightly misspoke. I don’t have a problem with anything that keeps people from bullying.”

He added that he was more specifically thinking of incidents in which speakers had to cancel engagements at colleges because of protests or threats.

One of Rooney’s political opponents, David Holden, said he also believes free speech is important on college campuses. “Provocative speech also serves a purpose. Hopefully, it forces students to articulate what in the speech they find disagreeable.”

However, Holden also believes LGBTQ+ students and others face legitimate threats to their safety that justify the existence of safe zones.

Read the Naples Daily News article here.

Written by Audrey Pitcher

Audrey Pitcher is a Media and Communications Studies major at Ursinus College. Ve is a board member of the Ursinus Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Ve also works as a writing fellow in the Center for Writing and Speaking, where ve helps fellow students improve their writing skills. Audrey was recently featured at Ursinus' Celebration Of Student Achievement for an essay on the mapping of femininity onto gay men in late 20th century theater.

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