Distinguished Lecture Series
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The Distinguished Lecture Series is a free, student-run event which has brought notable figures in politics, pop culture, science, and religion to campus throughout the academic year since 1987.
The Distinguished Lecture Series is run by the Distinguished Lecture Series Committee, which is comprised entirely of students and part of the Wisconsin Union Directorate. Lectures are generally held in the Memorial Union Theater. Speakers are selected from student nominations each year. The series brings seven to ten speakers to campus annually. Topics of each lecture can range anywhere from religion to sustainable agriculture.
There are a number of qualifications a speaker needs in order to be nominated, according to Reid Tice, director of the DLS committee 2009-10.
- A speaker cannot have been on campus for an event in the past four years.
- They need to be in the price range for the DLS committee's budget, which is approximately $150,000 annually.
- Each speaker should cover a different topic; there typically would not be two economists in one year.
- They cannot be dead.
Among the speakers which have come to the University of Wisconsin include Political Scientist Dr. Howard Zinn, author of Fight Club Chuck Pahlaniuk, and Al Sharpton.
The Distinguished Lecture Series has a branch off series called Changemakers@UW, created by Vignesh Valliappan in 2010. The focus of the series is business, namely capitalism, curing social problems. The Changemakers@UW focuses on one topic, while the original series embraces many different areas of culture and science.
In February 2010, Ayaan Hirsi Ali came to campus to speak out against Islam doctrine, which she felt included a sanctioned abuse of women. The UW Muslim Student Association felt Hirsi Ali had an anti-Islam agenda, and were opposed to her arriving to campus. Hirsi Ali fled her homeland of Somalia because of the abusive treatment of women and her work in the Islamic community against the abuse of women has lead to numerous, serious death threats. While there were no student protests of her visit, security remained tight during the lecture and no bags were allowed into the Memorial Union Theater.