Rittenhouse, who was found not guilty of murder after defending himself against attacks during the Kenosha, Wisconsin-based Black Lives Matter riot in 2020, is scheduled to speak at the University of Memphis on March 20 and Kent State University on April 16.

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The Commercial Appeal newspaper said the Memphis speech, titled "Rittenhouse Recap," sparked "outrage," adding that "many users on Twitter and Facebook also encouraged people to buy tickets to the free event and not go."

"In a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, former Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer condemned the event. She shared the professional contact information for U of M president Bill Hardgrave and his chief of staff, urging people to let her know what they thought of Rittenhouse's speech."

The University of Memphis issued a lengthy statement to regional media distancing itself from the event, saying that it was hosted by a student group but could not cancel the event. Part of the statement reads as follows

The expression of different ideas and opinions plays an important role in maintaining a diverse campus environment that is open and inclusive. The University encourages peaceful and respectful debate among the student population.

It is essential that these discussions take place while maintaining a safe environment on our campus. Speech that includes threats, harassment, or attempts to incite violence is not protected under the First Amendment and is strictly prohibited by the University.

To maintain our commitment to a safe environment, Campus Police Services has a comprehensive plan to address potential safety concerns related to this event. This plan includes working with local law enforcement and providing additional security in fulfillment of its obligation to abide by the principles of the First Amendment and the Tennessee Campus Free Speech Act. Because of this obligation, the University cannot legally prohibit the event from taking place.

The expression of diverse ideas and opinions plays an important role in maintaining a diverse campus environment that is open and inclusive.

"The Rittenhouse Recap" is scheduled to stop by Kent State University in mid-April. Two petitions have called on Kent State to cancel the show, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

"A Microsoft Form is asking the university to condemn the event and also to ban Turning Point USA from KSU for 'promoting hate speech,'" the newspaper reported, adding that the petition reads, "While free speech laws limit the steps the university can take to prevent this event from happening, this is an egregious act of hate against Black and Brown communities in the area."

The Journal added:

A second petition posted on Change.org by KSU student Ally Grecco calls on the university and Turning Point to reconsider its decision to host Rittenhouse. Grecco points to KSU's "painful history of armed violence" on May 4, 1970, which had a profound impact on national politics.

"The decision to host a person associated with such violence is not only insensitive to our community's past, but threatens to further divide us in these already tense times," the petition reads. "We must remember that our university should be a place of learning and growth - not a place to promote divisive figures or ideologies that could potentially incite further violence."

A spokesperson for Kent State issued a statement to the Journal similar to a statement issued by the University of Memphis, saying that Rittenhouse was hosted by a student organization, that the school supports free speech and that its leaders encourage students to engage in constructive dialogue about challenging issues.

Rittenhouse also spoke at East Tennessee State University last month, sparking a protest. Organized by the Young Democratic Socialists of America at ETSU, the protest included several dozen students, community members and others carrying signs reading "get the murderer off our campus," "stop hate speech" and "racists not welcome," the Johnson City Press reported.

A university spokesperson defended the event as an expression of freedom of expression, the newspaper reported.