State rep to meet with The Citadel president Thursday about Steve Bannon speech

Published: Nov. 2, 2017 at 8:36 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2017 at 2:56 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - State Rep. Wendell Gilliard is set to meet with Citadel Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa Thursday to discuss an upcoming speech by former presidential advisor Steve Bannon.

The speech will be hosted by the Citadel Republican Society on Nov. 10.

Gilliard said in a statement released Wednesday that he will also ask Rosa to distribute a two-page memo entitled, "Thoughts for uplifting students at the Citadel" to Citadel cadets. It contains 10 bullet points in which he addresses his own beliefs, most which come out against Bannon.

"Each of us must use our own personal conscience in addressing this visit by Steve Bannon," the memo says in part. "I call on each student at the Citadel to focus on those things that strengthen the integrity of the Cops of students and not those of division and hate."

Lt. Gen. Rosa has been president of The Citadel since 2006 and graduated from the school in 1973. He was previously the Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

"The Citadel Republican Society, a student-led club, has invited Steve Bannon to participate in their annual Patriot dinner. The views of Mr. Bannon, or individual members of the Citadel Republican Society, are not necessarily those of the entire Corps of Cadets, our students, faculty or staff," Citadel spokesman Col. John Dorrian said in a statement. "The Citadel greatly values civility, and although all members of the college community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community. The Citadel's regulations are clear that the college is committed to protecting and promoting free expression, which is essential to an academic institution."

Bannon's speech a The Republican Society's Patriots Dinner was announced Oct. 26 and met with strong reaction from both sides of the aisle locally.

Early bird and presenting sponsor tickets to the event were sold out as of early Thursday morning with a number of other price points still available.

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