After Virginia Tech claimed that it never issued an invitation for conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley to come and speak on campus, Riley fired back with a Tweet on Wednesday that included a picture of the email "invitation" that allegedly was sent to him on April 19.
"Last month I was invited by a professor to speak at Virginia Tech in the fall. Last week, the same professor reluctantly rescinded the invitation, citing concerns from his department head and other faculty members that my writings on race in The Wall Street Journal would spark protests," Riley wrote.
Riley, who is an African-American, has traditionally taken a conservative stance on race issues and has been critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"I have been writing about racial and various other issues in the Journal for more than two decades and lecturing at colleges for almost as long," Riley said in the column. "Typically, I’m invited to offer an alternative perspective on an issue—to expose students to a way of thinking that they are unlikely to experience from, say, the 25% of sociology professors who also happen to identify as Marxists."
So when he received the Virginia Tech professor's letter rescinding the invitation to speak on campus, Riley attempted to call out the university.
Following the publishing of Riley's column, Dean Robert T. Sumichrast issued a statement denying Riley's claims altogether.
"To clarify what has been reported, no invitation was ever extended to Jason Riley," Sumichrast stated, according to Mediaite. "A faculty member did reach out to Mr. Riley to inquire of his interest in speaking at Virginia Tech. ... This faculty member does not represent the committee’s voice and this faculty member did not extend an invitation nor rescind an invitation."
But Riley would have none of it, and on Wednesday, he published a Tweet with a picture of the email from Douglas Patterson, a professor in the university's Finance Department.
"My purpose in writing to you is to invite you to give the fall 2016 lecture in Blacksburg," the email reads. "Given your contributions to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, I believe you would be a very appropriate choice to give the lecture."
The university has yet to respond.
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