Speaker cancels October date

Jessie Hellmann

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Editor’s note: In the previous article “Sex offender to speak on campus” we were misinformed about how much money Ritz would be paid. This article has the correct amount he would have been paid at $2,000.

Adam Ritz’s “Are You Invincible” presentation will not take place on Oct. 19 at the request of the speaker, according to a statement issued Tuesday afternoon by Activities Programming Board (APB) program adviser Kathy Jones.

APB booked Ritz to speak for Alcohol Awareness Week.

In his speech, Ritz discusses people in the news who have made bad decisions and the negative consequences that follow. He takes his presentation across the nation to speak at various colleges and has spoken for professional football teams like the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins.

Jones said Ritz did not give a reason for canceling, and she doesn’t know if he will set another date.

“The Activities Programming Board is disappointed with this news and feels that the event would have brought a different perspective to campus programming on alcohol issues,” the statement read.

APB will not lose the $2,000 because Ritz canceled his appearance, and his contract with APB states he was not to be paid until the conclusion of his speech.

APB does not know what they will do for a speaker for Alcohol Awareness Week because Ritz canceled on short notice, Jones said.

Ritz served six months in prison after he pled guilty to sexual battery involving his 22-year-old babysitter in 2004. The court ordered he complete one year of probation, 120 hours of community service and to register as a lifetime sex offender.

Nikki Kessler, Human, Environmental and Animal Rights (HEAR) vice president and junior psychology major, said she does not understand why people were horrified about Ritz coming to speak.

“Obviously he’s doing something good with his life because he’s speaking to college students now,” she said.

Kessler served as APB’s Film Chair in 2010-2011. She said she thinks it was rude and unnecessary to plan for extra security at the event.

“Maybe (APB) should do research before they bring people, but it’s in the past,” Kessler said. “He served six months.”

She said his presentation would have been good for the university and she planned on attending it.

“We’re giving him a shot and opening people’s minds,” Kessler said. “The past is the past, and you got to move forward.”

Sophomore Megan Kadlec from Minnesota State University said she saw Ritz speak last April when she was covering the event for the school’s newspaper.

“He never said anything about his past until the very end, the last five minutes,” she said. “I thought that was weird because he paints himself as great guy with a successful career, and then says oh, woe is me, I’m a convicted sexual predator.”

Kadlec said his entire presentation was about different students who got in trouble because of drinking and driving accidents.

“Basically a lot of stories about what happens to these people who were drunk but never mentions people who were victims of the accidents,” she said.

She said one thing he said was particularly appalling.

“Forget about the student who is killed, the person who killed him, his life is ruined forever,” Kadlec quoted Ritz.

“He completely disregards the student who died,” she said.

She said when he told everyone he was a sex offender, she thinks he sounded insincere, but she said she doesn’t want to accuse him of that.

“He was almost upset about it in a way, but it was clearly a show,” she said.

Kadlec said after the presentation Ritz didn’t accept questions because of time restraints.

Attempts to reach Ritz for comment were unsuccessful.

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