Kent State University says ‘gun girl’ graduate must have student group sponsorship for open carry rally

August 30, 2018

Kent State University says ‘gun girl’ graduate must have student group sponsorship for open carry rally

KENT, Ohio -- Kent State University will not allow graduate Kaitlin Bennett to hold a rally to protest university open carry policies, unless a student group sponsors the event.

The “Kent State gun girl” planned an elaborate rally for Sept. 29, including speakers from InfoWars and Patriot Prayer, a far-right group based in Portland.  

Bennett held a similar, smaller rally in April, when she was a student. Since then she gained Internet fame when she posed for graduation photos on campus with an AR-10 strapped to her back. 

On September 29th, I will be returning to Kent State to host an open carry rally. We plan on bringing out a great lineup of speakers, and appreciate any help we can get to make this the greatest gun rally of the year! #KSUOpenCarryRally https://t.co/b6nJjTlRri— Kaitlin Bennett (@KaitMarieox) August 10, 2018

Nearly 100,000 people follow her on Twitter now, and she returned to campus to do a video for conservative organization Liberty Hangout where she disguised herself with glasses and asked students what they thought about the Kent state gun girl. 

According to a cease-and-desist letter sent Wednesday, now that Bennett is a graduate, she needs a student organization to sponsor the rally. 

Liberty Hangout has a student chapter at Kent State, which Bennett founded as a student. It’s now headed by Michael Heil, a journalism student. 

Heil did not respond to request for comment. 

Bennett’s rally could still happen; she has nearly a month to sign on a sponsor and receive proper approval, according to university guidelines. 

On Twitter, she said it will happen regardless of university approval. 

Bennett claimed on social media that she’s run into roadblocks. She tweeted a video where she tried to schedule a meeting with Kent Dean of Students Lamar Hylton, and was told that she couldn’t because she wasn’t a student. 

.@KentState says I’m not following university policy for the open carry rally I was planning, yet staff members refused to schedule meetings w/ me to discuss the policies because of my views. I caught it on video and thought the world should know they’re biased against gun owners pic.twitter.com/wyzwbXdTsv— Kaitlin Bennett (@KaitMarieox) August 30, 2018

She discussed the situation further in a Facebook Live post.

Read the full letter in the document viewer below. The university also sent a letter to Black Lives Matter Cleveland, which was planning to protest the rally. 

Both letters were signed by Willis Walker, general counsel for Kent State. The letter sent to Black Lives Matter classifies that protest as a demonstration, but also states that the group needs a student group sponsor. 

Read both letters below: 

Cease-and-desist sent to Bennett

Cease-and-desist sent to Black Lives Matter 

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