Gavin McInnes, a controversial far-right media personality, was pepper sprayed by non-student protestors while he was attempting to enter an event hosted by College Republicans at New York University (“NYU”). After recovering, McInnes went on to give his planned speech only to be interrupted after three minutes by protesting NYU students. Although this second protest was non-violent, it prohibited McInnes from continuing his talk. After twenty minutes of the continuous disruption, McInnes decided to cancel the event and leave campus.
Michael Strickland, Portland State University
A group of protestors—one wielding a cowbell—disrupted a College Republicans-sponsored presentation at Portland State University (“PSU”) by conservative journalist Michael Strickland. Whenever Strickland would attempt to speak, the protestor would begin yelling and ringing the cowbell continuously. Although a campus police officer was present, he did not intervene. After continuous disruption for an hour—the allotted time for the event—the protestor left, and the university allowed the event to continue for another thirty minutes. PSU later issued a statement defending the actions of the campus police officer, claiming that his inaction was justified “so as to not escalate a potentially unsafe situation.”
Xavier Becerra, Whittier College
Pro-Trump protestors exercised their “heckler’s veto” by constantly interrupting and shouting insults at California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and California Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon at a public Q&A event hosted at Whittier College. The event was intended to be a 60-minute session but had to be cut short at 34 minutes due to the protestor’s actions. Apparently, the protest was organized to respond to Becerra’s lawsuit against the Trump administration’s decision to discontinue the federal DACA program.
Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University
Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at Temple University and commentator for CNN, gave a speech at the U.N. that was highly critical of Israel and which many construed as advocating for the elimination of Israel. CNN promptly fired Hill and students at Temple began protesting and demanding that the university follow suit. Despite some administrators calling for the school to look into “remedies” it could take against Hill, the university reprimanded Hill but did not terminate his employment.
Milo Yiannopoulos, UC Davis
Milo Yiannopoulos and Martin Shkreli were invited to speak at an event held by the College Republicans at UC Davis. In response, about 150 protestors gathered at the venue and barred entrance to the lecture hall. Instead of escalating the situation by attempting to remove the protestors to allow ticket holders to enter the venue, campus police and the College Republicans decided to cancel the event thirty minutes before the slated start time. It does not appear that any protestors were investigated by the school for their actions, although police arrested one student for alleged assault on a police officer.
The Wesleyan Argus, Wesleyan University
Bryan Stascavage—a 30-year-old Iraq veteran and Wesleyan student—wrote an opinion column for the Wesleyan Argus, a student newspaper, criticizing Black Lives Matter’s tactics and messaging. Almost immediately students began protesting the article, starting by vandalizing and destroying copies of the newspaper across campus. The protestors also demanded that the student government defund the Argus unless a series of diversity-based demands were met. Due to widespread backlash from the administration and the general public, the student government dropped the defunding proposal.
Erik Prince, Beloit College
Erik Prince, an associate of President Trump and the controversial founder of the security company Blackwater, was invited by the Young Americans for Freedom (“YAF”) at Beloit College to discuss the private sector’s contributions to national security. In response, protestors gathered before Prince arrived and created a barricade of furniture on the stage, hanging a banner on the barricade that read “Erik Prince = War Criminal.” At this point, the school canceled the event, citing safety concerns. Although the school started an investigation into the incident, it is unclear whether any students were punished for their roles in the protest.
Ryszard Legutko, Middlebury College
Middlebury College canceled a scheduled talk by Ryszard Legutko—a professor of philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków—due to supposed safety concerns stemming from the amount of people interested in attending the event as well as the planned protest outside of the event. The protestors claimed that Legutko was a racist and a bigot but purportedly planned to not disrupt the event itself. The college has stated that they are open to re-scheduling the event in the future.
Josh Blackman, City University of New York School of Law
Josh Blackman, an invited speaker at City University of New York School of Law (“CUNY”) was called a racist and heckled continuously by students during the beginning of his event due to the students’ belief that he opposed the federal government’s DACA program. Although Blackman ultimately only engaged in a question and answer session after protestors left the event, the Dean of the Law School hailed the protest as “reasonable” since the disruptions did not last for a large portion of the event.
Young America’s Foundation v. Berthelsen
A student group at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Students for a Conservative Voice (“SCV”), in conjunction with the Young America’s Foundation, invited speaker Ben Shapiro to campus to speak to students. Members of SCV reserved several venues around campus to ensure that a large space would be available for the event. After they reserved these spaces, however, SCV was notified that the event would be a considered a “Large Scale Event” and was relocated to a smaller venue because of security concerns.