Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Matthew Munoz and Rachel Leider,Staff Writers
“Did you get your panties in a wad? Take out your tampon,” said Jason Mattera, author of New York Times Best-Selling Obama Zombies in response to a student following a speech sponsored by the Kalamazoo College Republicans last Wednesday evening in the Olmsted Room.
Rhetoric turned heated in response to controversial comments made by Mattera in a question-and-answer period following his speech in which he promoted his book. The short presentation before a crowd composed predominately of Democratic protestors, 4 College Republicans, and 3 members of the community addressed his belief that “Barack Obama was just that cool choice” for many members of his generation.
Tension arose following outrage by students questioning potentially racially-linked comments made by Mattera in his speech.
Western Michigan University student John Curran noted Mattera’s reference to President Obama as ‘the brother in the White house,’ along with many others who questioned the tone of his presentation.
“I was distressed that this was the right-wing voice that the College Republicans chose to bring to campus and I think it was highly offensive,” said Alex Werder K’15. “It was not a positive contribution to the campus community; perhaps even detrimental.”
The crowd dwindled as many protesters, who dressed up as zombies, left the room as a result of Mattera’s responses to the crowd’s often-heated questions. “There are tissues in the back,” said Mattera to one woman who stormed out of the room following his response to her question.
“It’s unfortunate that a lot of these students left,” said a community member who only wished to be referred to as Robert. “It is unfortunate that the people I wanted to hear questions from left.”
Aware of the effects of Mattera’s comments, the College Republicans sent an email to College Democrats on Thurday apologizing for, what they called, Mattera’s “crude and inappropriate language.” They maintained that the purpose of the speech was to bring a contrasting viewpoint to campus, which they felt leans liberal.
“There are a lot of people here who are just indifferent or on the opposite side,” said College Republican President Spencer Thompson K’14. “We are trying to challenge those viewpoints.”