Conflicting views on Dinesh D’Souza’s arrival to UTSA

Lauren Hernandez, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

On Tuesday, April 18, Dinesh D’Souza visited UTSA to speak on the “Lies of the Left.” 

D’Souza is a best-selling author, filmmaker and political commentator. Several of his books are New York Times bestsellers, and his high-grossing films have attained considerable controversy. In 2018, he received a presidential pardon from former President Donald Trump for a “felony conviction of making an illegal campaign contribution.”  

Before D’Souza’s speech even began, complications had arisen. UTSA staff had turned several people away from the event, explaining that only students, staff and UTSA alumni could attend. 

UTSA Police escorted one woman out, who was shouting that the event was “unfair.” Her friend, Kim Stevenson, waited outside for her during the entire speech and explained that she was with a large group of people who were not allowed in. They had traveled hours from Arlington to San Antonio to see D’Souza speak. 

“She’s a veteran, you know? She got arrested for trespassing at the capitol on January 6,” Stevenson explained.

Student volunteers from UTSA’s Turning Point USA chapter, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government,” were also upset that UTSA was limiting who was allowed to attend the event.

They explained that other speakers on campus had rallies that were open to the public, and D’Souza’s speech not being a public event was an interesting choice on UTSA’s part.

Despite this, many were still excited to be at the event. 

“I just love the guy,” Anna Padilla, a UTSA alumnus, said. “I think he’s intelligent. He’s calm. I love it; he’s an intelligent speaker.” 

Throughout the entire event, only one person publicly protested. This was Patrick Robisheaux, a sophomore business student, who got in line twice during the Q&A portion to ask D’Souza questions concerning his felony conviction and beliefs. 

“I go and annoy the Turning Point people in front of their tabling and stuff all the time,” Robisheaux said. “I mainly came here because we don’t get political commentators very often.” 

Robisheaux has attended libertarian versus conservative debates that Turning Point hosts each semester as well. 

“I just wanted to bring a different experience and viewpoint to this event — break up the echo chamber.”