The details are still unclear, but the U.S. Air Force Academy is no longer a viable host for a planned Richard Dawkins speaking engagement. Despite the last-minute military venue ‘no-go’, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science secured the large Macky Auditorium at the University of Colorado at Boulder for Monday, October 15th.
Military members are encouraged to sign up for free tickets! Military ID / uniform gets you and up to three family members free (further accommodations may be available, so ask if necessary).
The venue tentatively scheduled for USAFA for Oct 16 with the red tape, bureaucracy and ignoring of requests resulted in the event needing to be moved to Macky Auditorium in Boulder CO on Oct 15th. That’s only a week and a half a way and we need to start promoting it!
From what I gather, despite 8 months of attempts at finalizing this at the academy and assurances that it would work out, it didn’t. It was made clear that too many obstacles were still in the way early this week. Spokespeople at RDFS were extremely puzzled by the lack of communication but were unwilling to let the mud fly. Within two days, RDFS had secured a large replacement venue at Macky Auditorium in Boulder, Co.
Eddie Izzard is scheduled at the same 2,000 seat venue just two nights earlier, but it’s sold out. Tickets for civilians are very reasonable, at $6 student/child or $12 General admission (once again free for military families!)
I’m not surprised at the extremely tardy finalization (or lack thereof, rather.) It took me 18 + months to secure the Fort Bragg main post parade field for Richard Dawkins back in March. 1500 people showed up! Earlier, they tried to shove us into a small movie theater, telling reporters that only a hundred people would likely attend (reporters laughed at this, and immediately called me for comment)… In the end, Fort Bragg commanders really came through for us in a big way. It was a breakthrough, and it was hard-won. Every day was a cut-throat game of chess, but by the end of it – it seemed like we all were on the same side.
I’ve offered the RDFS my pledge for future support regarding any future efforts along these lines. I explained a few more viable strategies for securing a venue, potentially cutting off a year of red-tape. Frankly, aside from the military jargon, RDFS leadership generally had the right idea. We’ll probably never know the source of the real holdup, but I’m certain the public affairs rep for USAFA is standing by with several semi-plausible reasons for the scarlet tape.
This is a closeup from the makeshift press tent we set up right before Rock Beyond Belief. Dozens of reporters captured the scene as the three of us (Dawkins, Sean Faircloth and myself) shared the microphone. Fort Bragg commander, Col. Sicinski even fielded questions from the press. It was unreal.
In the background you can see the Main Post Chapel. At one point, I had to stop Freedom From Religion Foundation co-president, Dan Barker, on his way into that building. He took a potentially embarrassing situation and he turned it into the best one-liner of the day “I was going to make a religious movement.”
Please spread the word to any military personnel and / or family members in the Colorado area.