A conservative group that brings speakers to college campuses moved an event with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) off UW-Madison's campus after a disagreement over the school's indoor mask policy.
Cruz and the group criticized the school, saying it was an effort to suppress free speech.
The event is billed as a live recording of the podcast Verdict, which Cruz hosts with conservative writer Michael Knowles.
“Academia's war on conservatives continues!!" Cruz wrote on Twitter. “UW-Madison is trying to stifle free speech and prevent [Knowles] and me from recording a LIVE episode of #Verdict. Their Marxist COVID mandates won't stop us! Get tickets for our new venue!"
But emails released by UW-Madison show that the group sponsoring the event, the Young America's Foundation — which is run by former Gov. Scott Walker, had agreed to follow all campus COVID-19 policies prior to the event.
“Any team members from Young America's Foundation who will be on site for the Verdict event on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, will be sure to follow the University of Wisconsin's health protocols and guidelines," an email from the group's vice president states.
UW-Madison requires that masks be worn indoors, including by people performing on stage.
“There may be some fireworks," Sen. Cruz said in an announcement of the event. “We may get some lefty students, and we may even get some commie professors coming in to argue in defense of the communist overthrow of our nation."
The event has been moved to the Wisconsin Masonic Center. Under the latest Dane County public health order, performers are allowed to forgo masks onstage if everyone in attendance is fully vaccinated and the performers stay at least six feet away from those in the crowd.
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