One individual was arrested and two removed from the venue during a protest at the University of Buffalo (UB) Thursday against a conservative speaker night who earlier called for transgenderism to be “eradicated,” according to a university statement sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Young America’s Foundation (YAF) sponsored conservative commentator Michael Knowles’ speech, titled “How Radical Feminism Destroys Women (And Everything Else),” through its student chapter Young Americans for Freedom, according to the chapter’s Instagram. Protesters arrived outside the venue in droves Thursday carrying LGBTQ and transgender flags, according to various images posted on Twitter by YAF. (RELATED: Professor Encourages Students To Protest Speaker Who Called For ‘Eradicating’ Transgenderism: REPORT)
University police arrested one protester, who was unaffiliated with the university, for “harassment, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest,” the university confirmed in a Thursday statement. Two additional protesters were escorted from inside the venue after repeated disruptions during Knowles’ speech.
Woke protestors interrupt @michaeljknowles‘s speech – get removed immediately pic.twitter.com/ToOxkpvXPb
— YAF (@yaf) March 10, 2023
Outside, protesters chanted “shut it down,” “This is what freedom looks like, this is what a fascist looks like” and “hey hey, ho ho, Michael Knowles has got to go,” the student newspaper The Spectrum reported. They also chanted “walk of shame” to attendees leaving the venue.
Quite the welcome committee at @UBuffalo! pic.twitter.com/Z1S2yN5csd
— Michael Knowles, falsehood eradicator (@michaeljknowles) March 10, 2023
“We are proud of the way our campus exhibited the values we hold as a university, exercising its right to peacefully express its views,” Brian F. Hamluk, vice president for student life, said in the university statement. “Despite being confronted with hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric, the UB community reaffirmed our university’s commitment to ideals of inclusion, justice and equity for our trans community, and for all who are marginalized, disenfranchised and oppressed.”
The university dismissed calls for the event to be canceled earlier this week, writing in a Tuesday statement that it “must support the constitutionally protected democratic principles of the First Amendment.” Knowles came under fire for comments he made on March 4 at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), during which he said transgenderism should be “eradicated from public life entirely.”
“There can be no middle way in dealing with transgenderism,” he said. “It is all or nothing. If transgenderism is true, if men really can become women, then it’s true for everybody of all ages. If transgenderism is false, as it is, if men really can’t become women, as they cannot, then it’s false for everybody too. And if it’s false, then we should not indulge it. Especially since that indulgence requires taking away the rights and customs of so many people.”
The Daily Beast, a liberal news site, published that Knowles called for the “transgender community” to be “eradicated,” but later corrected the headline.
Despite on-campus backlash, Knowles’ UB speech reached maximum capacity, YAF tweeted.
“Over 600 people attended our standing room only event at the University of Buffalo last night. Despite the presence of protestors who attempted to disrupt the speech early on, the evening was a great success for those who support the First Amendment,” YAF spokesperson Michael McGonigle told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “At the end of the lecture, there was a Q&A between Michael Knowles and several individuals who came to challenge his point of view. They weren’t silenced and in fact had a respectful exchange of ideas – something we need to see more of in our country.”
University police did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
This article has been updated with comment from Young America’s Foundation.
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