by Steven Ertelt
January 15, 2008
Gainesville, FL(LifeNews.com) — Jack Kevorkian is still set to speak tonight at the University of Florida and his speech — which the university will pay him $50,000 to give — has drawn considerable controversy. Despite objections from thousands of people and expected protests at the event, local officials say they think it will be safe.
Lt. Stacy Ettel, a UF police officer responsible for security at the event, attended Kevorkian’s first post-prison speech at Wayne State University in Michigan on prison reform.
"We just wanted to see what kind of reaction he got, and what kind of protest he got," she said.
Ettel told the Gainesville Sun newspaper that the UF speech would be different because of the significant protest but she thinks it will be secure.
Katherine Schinn, president of UF’s Pro Life Alliance, plans to protest the event along with members of her group who are upset that the student speakers’ bureau Accent would pay so much of their student dues for a pro-euthanasia speaker.
"We were told in no uncertain terms that there was nothing we could do in terms of preventing him from coming," she told the newspaper.
"I wonder why if we’re so concerned about preventing suicide on campus, which is a valid concern, why would we want to promote pretty much the same thing?" she added.
Wesley J. Smith, a leading bioethics watchdog, says he’s strongly opposed to the speech.
"I think it is outrageous that the University of Florida is paying the murderer and anti-disabled bigot Jack Kevorkian $50,000 to speak," he said.
However, he warns pro-life advocates to be civil and respectful in any protests they conduct.
"I certainly don’t object to protests against that appearance," Smith says. "For those bitter opponents of Kevorkian … When he comes, be civil and do not disrupt his presentation. And by all means, do not threaten him or engage in pie throwing or worse."
Smith proposes a list of pertinent questions on his blog and contends Kevorkian will sink his own pro-assisted suicide cause if he’s allowed to speak on the topic.
The speech takes place at 8 p.m. Tuesday night at the O’Connell Center and there is no cost.