I like to think that my university is pretty awesome. In fact, I like to think that Liberty is better than most colleges. But on Wednesday of this past week, I went through a whole range of emotions about my school, from disappointment to anger to surprised pride.
You see, this Wednesday, we had Sean Hannity visit Liberty for Convocation. That in and of itself is no different from normal. We have all types of people come for Convo. We’ve had pastors, evangelists, celebrities, politicians, etc. come to talk to us. Some are better than others, and I don’t always (or often) agree with everything they talk about. But anyway, back to Sean Hannity. If you don’t know who Sean Hannity is, you’ve probably been living under a rock and/or you don’t own a television, a computer, or a radio. But, just in case you fit that description (and are somehow reading this post), Hannity is a conservative radio and television host who has a very successful show on Fox News. He’s come to Liberty before and someone thought it would be a good idea to bring him back.
The Convo started normally. Stand up. Music. Sit down. Prayer. Stand up. Music. Sit down. Speaker. It took me, and presumably most of the university, a while to be interested in what Hannity was saying, partly because we’d just had John Luke Robertson (of Duck Dynasty fame) share the funny story about the building he got for free and partly because Hannity was just doing the usual politician spiel about how the other side stinks, or whatever. Not that I disagree with him, but if I wanted to hear that, I would have listened to his show. He did give John Luke 50 grand as a surprise gift to help him with his project to end sex trafficking in Louisiana, which was pretty cool.
The interesting part about this Convo happened at nearly the end. Hannity was finishing up his talk. He talked a bit about how the President refused to acknowledge that we are in a war against Muslim terrorism (which is a big problem, y’all). Suddenly, some girl in the back piped up yelling about Chapel Hill. If you don’t know about Chapel Hill, a quick overview is that a man murdered three Muslim students over a parking spot. It’s deplorable, of course, but it wasn’t terrorism, and that’s basically what Hannity said. Anyway, he kept going and then he mentioned 9/11. And that’s when another person decided to start shouting. He shouted, very loudly, “9/11 was an inside job.”
*Sigh* Seriously, of all the things he could have shouted about…
I believe that there is a time and a place to publicly disagree with someone. However, shouting from the back of a ginormous room filled with 10,000+ people is not the place or time to do it. That’s pretty much what the whole school thought too. Hannity, who is rather used to being heckled at colleges, just looked at the guy and said, “Okay, Michael Moore,” which made us all laugh.
But at the same time, I was mortified for my college. “We’re better than this,” I thought. And, usually, we are. I don’t remember a time since I’ve been here when someone had the nerve to heckle one of our speakers in the middle of Convocation. I couldn’t believe how rude those two people were being. But again, I thought it was over.
Hannity started talking again, and less than a minute later, the 9/11 truther guy started shouting again. This is where the surprised pride I was talking about earlier comes in. I have no idea what he said, because the moment he started shouting, I kid you not, the entire student body shouted back “Shut up!” It was seriously the best thing ever. The Convo ended without incident after that.
As embarrassing it was to have people heckling our speaker, it was great to see all of us standing up against the one guy who didn’t want to show respect. I hope Sean Hannity realizes that we aren’t normally like this. We are usually much better about showing respect to the speakers that come to talk to us. Above all, I hope we learned something from this experience. If nothing else, I hope the collective “Shut up” will discourage any future hecklers for a couple of years.
P.S. By the way, if you’re interested in John Luke Robertson’s project to end human trafficking in Louisiana, you can click here to donate. I know the site looks a little sketchy, but it is legit. I would love to help out myself, but right now, I am the epitome of a broke college student.