YCT drops plans to bring Jonah Goldberg to campus this semester


Photo by Genevieve Humphreys

Earlier this year, Trinity’s chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) planned to bring Jonah Goldberg to lecture on campus. However, due to scheduling conflicts, YCT has decided not to move forward with the event for this semester.

Goldberg is the senior editor of the National Review and a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. YCT had worked with the Office of Student Involvement and the event review committee but dropped the event before the process had been finalized.

“The long and short of it was scheduling difficulties. We had a tough time working with Student Involvement to pick a good date, that took a bit of time,” said junior Isaiah Mitchell, current president of YCT. “The main thing is that Jonah Goldberg was super busy this month.”

Mitchell explained that Goldberg just started a media company and has book tours scheduled, so finding a solid date was difficult.

According to Jamie Thompson, director of Student Involvement, events like this one require extra time to go through the event review process because they have extra logistical aspects, like the involvement of Risk Management.

“This is standard for lots of programs. We did need them to have a contract in hand, not formalized, but that we could get to Risk Management to review, which is the case for any contracts as to be be reviewed by Risk Management, and we can’t have that happening days or even a week in advance,” Thompson said. “It takes time to get that vetted. We did put a window on that, and it was from an anticipated event date, and they had no idea that that date was.”

Though YCT had no formal contract, they still continued to plan the event.

While in the process of planning, YCT requested $5,000 of the student activity fee from the Student Government Association (SGA). The total amount was granted, but the money remained in SGA’s accounts until official approval of the event.

“Before events are approved by Student Involvement, we have the money set aside to give to them, but it doesn’t go through to them until their entire event is approved,” said junior Kenneth Clouston, vice president of SGA. “Even though we did approve that event, Student Involvement didn’t get all the information needed to get the event to go through. The money never left the student activity fee.”

YCT also worked with the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to help fund and coordinate the event. YAF backed $10,000 for the lecture and helped put YCT in contact with Goldberg’s agents, according to Julia Westwick, sophomore and vice president of YCT.

“We took that route because organizations like YCT and YAF already have connections with many big-name speakers like Jonah Goldberg, and they already have a streamlined process for hosting speakers. YAF also helps foot the bill for some speakers,” Westwick wrote in an email interview.

Westwick explained that there was miscommunication between YAF and Goldberg’s agents, however, which led to the scheduling conflicts. YCT aims to bring Goldberg in the fall, though those plans are still in-the-making.

“We’re not sure that Jonah Goldberg will be free in the fall, but we’re hoping that he’ll be able because we made the proposal, and we worked hard to get to him and everything,” Mitchell said.

Thompson explained that YCT will have to go through the event review process from the start if the group decides to go through with this plan.

“From my vantage point, it seems they need to have more communication with that agent and through the other funders before they’re able to continue planning on our end,” Thompson said.