Gavin McInnes, NYU

February 2017

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

March 2019
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

October 2017
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.

Milo Yiannopoulos, UC Davis

January 2017
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.

Erik Prince, Beloit College

March 2019
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

April 2019
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

March 2018
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

July 2018
University of Minnesota

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.

Common, Kean University

April 2015
Kean University

Police outrage over invited Kean University graduation speaker Common led the school to retract the rapper’s invitation to speak at the ceremony. The lyrical content of Common’s “Song for Assata” was cause for the backlash, as New Jersey state police believe the song’s content portrays former Black Panther party member Assata Shakur, convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper, in a sympathetic light.