At UNC-Chapel Hill, Tom Tancredo's return engagement went better than his first.
Tancredo, the outspoken former Colorado congressman who got shouted down last year in his first attempt to speak at UNC-CH, returned Monday night and completed his talk without any violence or aggression from the 100 or protesters who attended.
Instead, they registered their contempt for Tancredo, whose views opposing illegal immigration are well known, by walking out of his talk at the campus student union.
Last year, Tancredo's talk was shut down early by campus police after a window was broken. One student was arrested and the student organization that brought Tancredo to campus, Youth for Western Civilization, was all of a sudden in the spotlight.
Youth for Western Civilization is still in its infancy. Now in its second year, the UNC-CH chapter has about 10 students. Since sponsoring Tancredo's visit last year, its members have repeatedly been labeled "racist" and worse.
"Our policies are not based on the color of your skin," the group's leader, Daryl Ann Dunigan, said last week. "Our group isn't racist. We're just saying we should be able to appreciate the culture we have, since a lot of us seem to put our culture down to support a lot of other cultures."
The Tancredo mess last year created some problems for the group just as it was getting its footing. Its first advisor, physics professor Chris Clemens, stepped down out of concerns that the group's national organization, which provided funding to the UNC-CH chapter, was stirring up trouble unnecessarily.
A subsequent advisor was then forced to resign after making a somewhat off-color wisecrack in an e-mail about using his gun. The advising issue was finally resolved when three advisors were found to do the job collectively.
If students who protested the Tancredo talk last year sought to marginalize him, they did just the opposite. The controversial former lawmaker received apologies from UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp and UNC system President Erskine Bowles, and UNC-CH paid $3,000 to Youth for Western Civilization, a good-will gesture to be used as reimbursement for the group to bring another speaker to campus.
And while last year's Tancredo visit was held in a classroom, his return was in the Carolina Union auditorium - a far larger venue and an acknowledgment of the event's notoriety.