A protester tried pulling the plug on fired Google employee James Damore and the rest of a panel at Portland State University Saturday by tampering with the audio system.
Portland State’s Freethinkers group hosted Damore, along with professor Peter Boghossian, writer Helen Pluckrose, and Evergreen State professors Bret Weinstein and Heather E. Heying, reported The College Fix.
Non-student protester Heather Clark, whose attempted dismantling of the panel’s sound system resulted in a 10-minute audio outage, received a second degree criminal mischief citation, as well as a two-year campus ban.
“I know that some were expecting a violent disruption,” Clark told The Fix. “I don’t think that was ever on the table. Bottom line, people like James Damore are absolutely not welcome here. We must make that clear. A small walkout and some equipment damage isn’t saying much, but it’s a whole lot louder than nothing.”
Damore’s Portland protesters did not, in particular, address what specific views of the former Google employee they disagreed with. However, Damore has received criticism in the past for a memo. He has argued that biological differences between men and women are partly responsible for the gender gap in STEM fields.
Andy Ngo, a Portland State graduate student, said that someone claiming to work for Portland State’s audiovisual team tweeted that he could use a back entrance to break into the Freethinkers’ function and “literally turn the whole building off.” Another Facebook user, also with uncertain relation to the university, implied he would throw “active grenades” at Damore during the panel.
Around 250 students and non-students attended the event. Approximately a half-dozen protesters held posters depicting influential women in science outside of the event.
The Freethinkers’ next event, scheduled for April 7, will discuss the causes of Islamic extremism, Ngo said when speaking with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Some blame socio-economic factors, ‘Islamophobia’ and foreign policy, while others point the finger at Islam itself,” reads an excerpt of a press release Ngo sent to TheDCNF. The group will invite University of Zurich professor Elham Manea who, “as a 16-year-old in Yemen…was drawn into radical Islam, and has since spent 20 years researching political Islam (or Islamism) in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.”
This post has been updated to note past criticism James Damore has received and also to include comment from Andy Ngo.
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