By Duane Paul Murphy
Conservative journalist and political commentator Kassy Dillon spoke to about 20 undergraduate students in attendance at Catholic University in Heritage Hall on Tuesday night. Dillon spoke about her own career, as well as the news stories that she covers for The Daily Wire. The event was co-organized by the university’s chapter of the Network of Enlightened Women (NeW), a politically conservative women’s group, and the university’s College Republicans, the collegiate wing of the Republican Party.
Dillion, a 2018 graduate of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, has previously written for other conservative publications such as Campus Reform, the Washington Examiner, the Wall Street Journal, and Red Alert Politics. In 2016, while still in school, Dillion, a Springfield, Massachusetts native, founded the Lone Conservative, a news platform for student conservatives on college and university campuses. Currently, Dillion writes for The Daily Wire, a conservative news website founded by political commentator Ben Shapiro.
Throughout her opening remarks before the question and answer portion of the event, Dillion discussed the ways that her own personal college experiences made her active in American conservative politics. Due to her wanting to stay close to her family, she attended Mount Holyoke, an all-women’s university, with the intention of joining the military through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and eventually studying law through the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) while majoring in history.
However, one event off-campus she personally attended changed her political life. While working for Campus Reform in 2016, Dillion was assigned to cover an event hosted by College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst called “The Triggering: Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?” The event’s speakers were with right-wing political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, conservative YouTube personality Steven Crowder, and American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Marie Hoff Sommers. With less than 10% of battery on her own smartphone, Dillon said that she was able to capture on video one notable moment of the entire event when a young woman was constantly interrupting the speakers and said in repetitive phrase, “keep your hate speech off of our campus.”
After that experience, she furthered her own conservative politics and writing on and off-campus before graduating university from appearing on media outlets such as Fox News and starting her own political website. Near the end of her own speech, Dillion self-defined conservatism as “conserving” the values of country’s constitution as well as limited government and free market economic capitalism.
During the question and answer portion of the event, when asked about how widespread the issues of free speech and expression on college campuses and universities are, Dillion responded that while the majority of colleges and universities have little to no issues regarding the diversity of thought and expression their own respective campuses, instances of speaker deplatforming and other forms of free speech suppression at institutions such as UMass Amherst, Berkeley, Evergreen State, Middlebury, and Yale are rare, but are gradually rising.
Students in attendance expressed positive sentiments regarding the event while reflecting their own personal experiences with free speech issues on campus at the university.
“I thought that it was very interesting to hear Ms. Dillon’s perspective as a political minority on her campus,” said freshman undergraduate Tyler Farrar. “It is unfortunate that some schools have so much trouble with showcasing diverse opinions on their campus.”
Farrar was critical of Dillion’s generalization regarding liberals’ views on free speech.
“However, I found her representation of liberals as a whole to be unfairly biased based on her unfortunate experience, and I found this frustrating,” Farrar said. “I don’t see how the experiences she referenced are dissimilar to problems that occur on the alt-right as well. In my opinion, it highlights a much larger problem with the state of our political discourse rather rather than simply an issue within the left.”