UF students express concerns ahead of Trump Jr.'s visit

GAINESVILLE, Fla., (WCJB) --- "We want diverse thought and an exchange of ideas," said Anthony Leonardi, UF student.

Anthony Leonardi is a member of Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative student organization that recently settled a lawsuit against the University of Florida alleging that they got less school funding for events because of their conservative views.

"We don't want a predominant ideology on this campus, we don't want a predominately liberal view of predominately liberal speakers and we don't want the reverse with conservative speakers," said Leonardi.

UF paid Young Americans for Freedom $66,000, taking some of that money from student organizations that were found to be funded at much higher levels than the conservative group.

Now that the Accent Speakers Bureau at the university is paying Donald Trump Jr. and, Kimberly Guilfoyle, $50,000 to speak on Thursday, there are some students planning to protest.

"We want to make sure that we are keeping our students safe while also respecting everyone's individual free speech rights which is why we're going to protesting. We acknowledge that people are possibly excited for this event, but this event does not have to happen on our campus subsidized by our personal student finances that are being used to subsidize a campaign an event," said Jovanna Liuzzo, a protest organizer.

One UF freshman says students who oppose Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. shouldn't disturb others who wish to see them speak.

"People might say that the speakers are racist, misogynists are discriminatory, are completely false. If you do not believe in their views then don't attend it is not really affecting you," said Paris Myaj, UF student.

"There are even cases where people are trying to take other people's tickets and then not attend the event just to make it seem like the attendance was low. I think that's very saddening to our campus dialogue," said Leonardi.

Among many demands, protestors are asking that the $50,000 being used to fund the event be given to the budgets of those student organizations that they say are now underfunded after UF's lawsuit settlement.

"If our demands are not met we as students will continue to organize and we will continue to take steps forward with administration demanding change from student government," said Emily Hyden, a protest organizer.

The free tickets that were given out for this event are all gone and the group of students planning to protest on Thursday is expecting hundreds of students to join them.