Students protested outside "The Art of Being Free" talk by conservative writer and podcaster Andrew Klavan, an event sponsored by the Boston College Republicans, on Tuesday night.
On his podcast, “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan has claimed that transgender women aren’t women, said that the United States should not accept immigrants who don’t share our “Western values,” and condemned feminism for making women “think they matter.” He has also discussed birtherism, immigration, and asserts that the United States is a Judeo-Christian nation.
“I don’t know if [the adminstrators] were aware of all the remarks he’s made in the past before approving the event,” said Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) President Michael Osaghae, MCAS ‘20, who was present at the protest. “But you can’t invalidate how students are feeling who are here and hurt and obviously in pain.”
Administrators in the Office of Student Involvement approved the event on Wednesday. It was held in a classroom in Higgins Hall with a capacity of 25 students, leaving an estimated 100 more students standing in the hallway.
Protestors began chanting “No hate, no fear, Muslim students welcome here,” and “No justice, no peace, no racism at BC,” once event organizers made it clear no one else would be let into the room.
“The speaker has expressed Islamophobic comments, anti-LGBTQ remarks consistently at every other institution he’s been at,” said Osaghae. “I’m here to stand with students in solidarity, especially with Muslim students, LGBTQ+, and other communities who are directly impacted by his presence here today.”
Four Boston College police officers were dispatched to the event. They warned protestors that “once [they were] done chanting, [they] had to clear the hallway.” Students in the hall refused to leave, eventually sitting down in protest almost 45 minutes after the start of the event.
FACES posted a condemnation of the event to its Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon.
“We condemn the University's decision to approve the allocation of $6,500 to actualize this event, which undergraduate students have paid for via our tuition money," said the FACES statement.
The GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) also posted a statement condemning the decision of College Republicans to invite Klavan to speak on campus. The statement acknowledged that certain students might believe that Klavan should be invited to speak to promote free speech and political diversity, but they suggested that "the platforming of Klavan is not a victory for either of these ideas, only for bigotry, cruelness, and supremacy."
"Attacking marginalized people is not intellectual diversity, it is only shameful ignorance," said the GLC statement. "We call upon our University to cease the invitation of speakers who attack marginalized people, and express our solidarity with other communities on campus who are angered and disrespected by this event."
At the time of publishing, Boston College Republicans had not responded to The Gavel's request for comment.