The Christian liberal arts university Union University in Tenessee has announced that it has cancelled the tour stop on their campus by a freedom movement after students petitioned the president.
Union University, a private Baptist college, had planned to host the final event in the "Freedom Matters" tour on August 30. The event featured many political and conservative commentators, including anti-racism critic James Lindsay, filmmaker Robby Starbuck and controversial pastor Greg Locke. Organized by local advocacy group Tennessee Stands, the organization's website says: "If you’re tired of the perpetual masking, medical privacy invasions, indoctrination in schools, or election integrity being compromised here is your opportunity to stand and be counted."
However, a Union University graduate organized a petition in early August, pushing to cancel the event. The petition focused on the particular ideas presented by "Freedom Matters", arguing that "The beliefs espoused by Freedom Matters neither represent scientific fact or biblical truth, and the fact that they will be shared from a pulpit is not only shameful, but negligent and reprehensible,"
After receiving 500 signatures and contacting Union President Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver, the school announced that it would cancel the event.
"Given what has come to light about the Freedom Matters Tour and some of the speakers associated with it, we have chosen to cancel our facilities contract for this event. The Freedom Matters Tour will not be holding a rally on the Union campus," President Oliver wrote in an email to students.
The event had only intended to rent space on campus and the event's contents were not "sponsored or sanctioned by the university."
Several of the representatives have had a history of online controversy. Locke himself had appeared several times in the news over the last few weeks when he said that he would not allow anyone to wear a mask in his church. He also made an appearance at an America's Revival event in Dallas, where he told attendees that "We do believe in our First Amendment right to gather that if you show up and you impede my First Amendment right - we are going to meet you at the door with our Second Amendment right."
It is unclear if Tennessee Stands will relocate or reorganize at a nearby location.