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Penn State cancels event featuring Proud Boys founder as students protest

Penn State University officials pulled the plug on an event featuring Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes on Monday night with the campus in an uproar.

A swarm of angry students gathered to protest the event hosted by Uncensored America, a registered student organization on campus that advocates free speech, shouting chants such as “We are not afraid of the Proud Boys.” The university said the specter of violence posed serious safety concerns.


“Due to the threat of escalating violence associated with tonight’s event, Penn State University Police determined that it was necessary to cancel the speaking event in the interest of campus safety. Demonstrations regrettably turned violent,” the institution explained.

Initially, Penn State defended Uncensored America’s “undeniable constitutional right to sponsor this presentation on our campus” despite voicing strong disagreement with the speakers’ “vitriolic and hateful language,” according to a statement on Oct. 11.

Penn State iterated its qualms Monday with the speakers lined up for the event, which included McInnes and right-wing provocateur Alex Stein. The Proud Boys are a right-wing organization that has mustered legal scrutiny from the Justice Department for the activities of some of its members around the Capitol riot. McInnes has distanced himself from the controversial group he helped create.

Video swirling on social media showed a storm of student protesters demonstrating on campus against the event.

Even after the event was canceled, protesters were still heard chanting the aforesaid phrase.

The event had been slated for 8 p.m. local time. But a strong police presence converged on the campus several hours in advance to combat rowdy protesters vexed by the Uncensored America event. The cancellation announcement came about an hour before the event was set to begin.

“The University has been clear that the views and speech of the two speakers at tonight’s student-organization-hosted event are abhorrent and do not align with the values of Penn State,” the university added. “We have encouraged peaceful protest, and, while protest is an acceptable means of expression, it becomes unacceptable when it obstructs the basic exchange of ideas.”


An alert to students about the canceled event Monday evening warned them to steer clear of the Thomas Building, where the event was set to take place, emphasizing that violates could be arrested, according to Penn Live. The institution also lamented the polarized state of the country.

“The climate in our nation has been polarized for quite some time. On campuses across the country, violence is proliferating and individuals are being intimidated and even harmed. This must stop,” it declared.

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