Despite concerns expressed by student leaders at the University of Southern Maine, Black Lives Matter protesters have no plans to demonstrate against Thursday’s appearance on campus by a controversial Maine lawmaker.

Leah Kravette, one of several people arrested last July during a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland, said no students involved with that movement are connected to any planned protest of a talk by Rep. Lawrence Lockman.

Kravette also said she was saddened to see student leaders associate her movement with any lawbreaking or violence. She said although there were arrests last summer, there was no violence and said any characterizations to the contrary are unfair.

Lockman, a Republican from Amherst, will lead a talk titled “Alien Invasion: Fixing the Immigrant Crisis,” from 7-8 p.m. Thursday at USM’s Wishcamper Center in Portland. He was invited to speak by a student group called Young Americans for Freedom. A Michigan chapter of that organization has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Lockman is one of the more outspoken members of the Maine Legislature. He has a long history of controversial comments dating back to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. More recently, he has been outspoken about immigration and has criticized Catholic Charities Maine, the organization that settles refugees here.

On Friday, USM President Glenn Cummings met with students who objected to Lockman’s appearance. Cummings previously had rejected a request by another group to cancel the talk, saying that a college campus is the best place for freedom of speech.

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