Conservative activist Star Parker speaks about urban poverty in campus class

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Star Parker, a conservative activist and founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, or CURE, visited a campus political science class Wednesday to address issues of urban poverty.

In her speech, Parker expressed concern for the social and economic challenges communities across the country are facing, which she said she believes result from the country’s “collapse of ethics and collapse of marriage.” Parker offered five policy proposals, including ending abortion subsidies, welfare entitlement reform and corporate tax relief.

“I thought the event was fabulous. People were attentive,” Parker said. “The students were genuine, thoughtful, had their own their opinions and allowed me to share mine.”

Campus lecturer Alan Ross, who teaches Political Science 179: Colloquium in Political Science, invites guest speakers to the class every week to discuss a variety of topics. Parker was this week’s guest. Ross emphasized that students should be able to hear from different perspectives to have a “real exchange of ideas.”

Campus sophomore Emily Timm-Wilson said she has taken the class twice now and that it’s one of her favorite classes. She said the topics and speakers are different each week, which keeps her interested in the curriculum.

During the class, Parker said she is part of a new federal task force to help the presidential administration fix urban poverty. She also cited her history of having been welfare-dependent as practical experience in poverty. Her organization, CURE, is focused on addressing “issues of culture, race and poverty from a Judeo-Christian conservative perspective,” according to its website.

After her speech, Parker fielded questions from students on topics ranging from abortion rights to government dependency. Some students in the class used this as an opportunity to express their disagreement with Parker’s views.

“I personally disagree with 99 percent of what she had said to say. She brings a very myopic view,” said campus junior Jonah Berger-Cahn. “(But) I recognize the importance of someone like her coming to our class because she represents the ideology of people in our (federal) administration.”

According to Ross, Parker had requested anonymity prior to the event because she was concerned for her safety after the Milo Yiannopoulos protest that took place on campus Feb. 1. Parker, who brought private security staff to the event, said she hoped that a campus that has historically defended free speech would allow her to speak. After the event, Parker said she “loved” the professor’s concept and would pass it on to her colleagues.

“It’s a disservice for the few, left wing, closed-minded (people) to stop the majority from hearing ideas that might provoke their thought,” Parker said. “Whether they agree or not, it’s much more fulfilling to explore.”

Contact Bobby Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bobbylee_dc.