Identity of Speakers
Invited for non-academic lecture
Political commentator and founder of the Proud Boys
Recognized student group event
Incident Political Orientation:
Rally or Protests
Other Law Enforcement
- Did not involve Speech Codes
A Penn State student-group, Uncensored America, planned to host an event featuring Gavin McInnes and Alex Stein. Gavin McInnes is the founder of the Proud Boys organization, and Alex Stein was billed by the group as a comedian and troll. However, this event was cancelled by the university an hour before it was scheduled to begin.
Numerous students called for the event to be cancelled in the days leading up to the event, associating the speakers and the Proud Boys with hateful and fascist ideology. A mass email was even sent out to students and faculty encouraging direct confrontations with the speakers. But the university refused to pull the plug, citing their dedication to free speech as a public institution.
However, on the day of the event, protestors, attendees, and law enforcement clashed outside the venue, resulting in pepper sprayings, crowd surges, and aggressive rhetorical and physical altercations. As a result, the university did decide to cancel the event. Both sides continue to point the finger at one another, suggesting their political adversaries are the cause of the violence and ultimate cancellation of the event.
In a speech to the campus community afterwards, Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi blamed the speakers, Gavin McInnes and Alex Stein, for contributing to the violence that led to the cancellation. And she blamed the protestors that also caused such aggressive confrontation for only bringing more attention to the views they sought to suppress.