Penn State University Cancels Event Featuring Proud Boys Founder Gavin McInnes

Officials at Penn State University canceled an event scheduled for Monday night featuring Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, with the campus in an uproar.​ The university said the specter of violence posed serious safety concerns.

A group of angry students gathered to protest the event being 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 institution explained, “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, due to demonstrations regrettably turning violent. The event was cancelled about an hour before the scheduled start.

The event had been slated for 8 p.m. local time, but a strong police presence was forced to converge on the campus several hours before the scheduled start to combat rowdy protesters vexed by the Uncensored America event. Video on social media showed a storm of student protesters demonstrating on campus against the event.

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Initially, Penn State had 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 October 11.

But Penn State iterated its decision on Monday as the speakers lined up for the event, which included McInnes and right-wing provocateur Alex Stein. Even after the even was canceled, protesters were still heard chanting the afore mentioned phrase, “We are not afraid of the Proud Boys.”

“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 basis exchange of ideas.”

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.

According to ‘Penn Live,’ 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 violators could be arrested.

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,” the university declared.

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