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Erik Prince, Beloit College

March 2019
Beloit College (Private college or university)
Beloit, WI, USA

Identity of Speakers

  • Erik Prince
    Faculty/Staff
    Invited for non-academic lecture

    Erik Prince is the founder of the private security company Blackwater.

Resources

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Recognized student group event
  • Incident Responses:
    University administration invoked formal speech code in response to incident
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • Incident Protested
  • Was Speech Code incident

Summary

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. Several protests were planned by students who connected Prince to the Blackwater contractors convicted of murder for their actions in the Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad, Iraq. One protest in particular was planned by the Students for an Inclusive Campus. Before Prince arrived, about 200 students gathered in a lecture hall to hear Prince’s speech. But, a large portion of the group engaged in a “walk out” about 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the event. Soon after, a drum line arrived as well as students who brought Bluetooth speakers to blare pop music in the room. Due to a delay, Prince still had not appeared—although he was still planning to give his speech. During that delay, the protesting students started taking chairs and stacking them on the stage—hanging a banner on the wall of furniture that read “Erik Prince = War Criminal.” At this point, the school cancelled the event for safety reasons. In the aftermath, the college began an investigation into the incident stating that the protests “fell unacceptably short” of the school’s core principles. Beloit College’s student handbook warns students that disruption of public lectures can result in punishments such as probation, suspension, or expulsion. It is unclear whether the college ultimately meted out any of those punishments to the protesting students.