Students at Penn State University are protesting after learning that thousands in student fees would be funding a Proud Boys event that will also be hosted at the college.
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and far-right media personality Alex Stein are set to appear at Penn State for their own comedy show on Oct. 24. The event was presented as a pitch by the college’s conservative social group Uncensored America. During the hour-long event, the two will reportedly discuss various political topics and people-related issues, including “political correctness, gender roles, and immigration.”
But some students aren’t here for the two showing up at their school to have a platform to share their personal ideologies, despite the school defending the show in the name of free speech. Many students have voiced that not only was McInnes’s Proud Boys group one of the leaders behind the violence that took place on Jan. 6, but he’s also infamous for spewing divisive, violent and racially charged rhetoric.
“‘Free Speech’ does not mean ‘enabling Gavin McInnes to develop and reinforce right-wing extremist networks while padding his wallet and prestige,’” reads a public petition that was sent to administrators at the university, Huffington Post reports. The petition is looking to get 1,600 signatures, and it’s already at 802. The petition was created by the Student Committee for Defense and Solidarity at Penn State.
“We demand that the Penn State administration deny Uncensored America permission to sponsor and platform Gavin McInnes with a speaking engagement,” the petition continued.
In a statement, the university condemned Mcinnes’s “vitriolic and hateful language” but maintained its position on allowing the event because it “fully supports the fundamental right of free speech.”