Kicking off the University at Buffalo Distinguished Speaker Series, Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke to a packed arena, only hours after he was threatened with two pipe bombs mailed to his family’s home.
He opened his lecture by addressing the matter. He was one of a string of leaders targeted via mail attack.
"My hope is this recent spat of these - who knows exactly what they were - but these pipe bombs being mailed might wake everybody in my business up a little bit and realize that we have to begin to put this country back together again,” he said.
He assured the crowd that journalists are not the enemy of the people, and that illegal immigrants are not animals, which were heavily applauded.
Also on the evening’s agenda was the topic of the rapidly growing divide between liberals and conservatives. Though liberal himself, Biden was fair to both parties, often saying “enough.” He acknowledged that the Buffalo area was known to be more right-winged, and assured the room—which was highly populated with students— that “this is not your father’s Republican Party,” reiterating that the right is growing further right but the left is also growing further left.
Some more specific issues were brought up by students who were lucky enough to ask the Former Vice President a question after his speech. This included sexual assault on campus, which he spoke about for several minutes. He referenced his “It’s On Us” program, which advocates for both men and women to hold themselves and their peers more accountable when it comes to sexual assault.
According to the Former Vice President, this project is one he personally asked President Barack Obama if he could work on when they were in office. He was also very obvious during his lecture about his distaste for current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her initiatives to change Title IX law— the law prohibits and regulates sex discrimination in academic settings.
More information the program can be found online at itsonus.org.
Photos and story by Amanda Berg