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Rittenhouse speaks at Western Kentucky University as hundreds protest outside

 Hundreds of protesters stood outside of WKU's Downing Student Union to protest an event by guest speaker, Kyle Rittenhouse
Jacob Martin
WKU Public Radio
Hundreds of protesters stood outside of WKU's Downing Student Union to protest an event by guest speaker, Kyle Rittenhouse

Amid the drone of protest chants, Kyle Rittenhouse spoke about his personal experience shooting and killing two people at a 2020 protest, while at a student sponsored event on Western Kentucky University’s campus Wednesday.

The WKU local chapter of the rightwing organization Turning Point USA invited Rittenhouse to speak on the Second Amendment and the “lies of [Black Lives Matter],” according to a website ticketing the event. His visit followed less than a week after Rittenhouse left the stage in Memphis amid questions from protesters at another university speaking event.

Rittenhouse spoke for roughly 20 minutes recounting the story of how he killed two people and wounded a third at the Black Lives Matter Protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was later acquitted of crimes related to the shootings.

“I have a right to share my story,” he told the crowd during the question and answer session that followed. Both supporters and detractors asked Rittenhouse questions.

Several hundred protesters gathered outside before and during the event, at times drowning out Rittenhouse’s voice. WKU student Malick Diallo said he attended because he stands against the values Rittenhouse represents. “We all feel angered that WKU is facilitating a space for Turning Point USA to bring in a man who not only propagates violence and vigilantism and promotes the idea of white supremacy,” Diallo said.

WKU sophomore Maxwell Hoover said he attended the event because he wanted to hear what each side had to say.

“I’m also interested to see both sides of the argument… so (I’m) coming out here to see all the protesters and seeing everyone to support,” Hoover said.

News of the event received immediate pushback from WKU faculty and students and Bowling Green community members since Rittenhouse's appearance was announced nearly two weeks ago. Multiple law enforcement agencies were on hand during the event. WKU Chief of Police Mitchell Robinson confirmed there were no arrests made during the evening.

Jacob Martin is a Reporter at WKU Public Radio. He joined the newsroom from Kansas City, where he covered the city’s underserved communities and general assignments, at NPR member station KCUR. A Louisville native, he spent seven years living in Brooklyn, New York before moving back to Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @jacob_noah or email him at
Alana Watson rejoined WKU Public Radio in August 2020 as the Ohio Valley ReSource economics reporter.
Camille Holland
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