Protest and counter-protest to be held against ‘change my mind’ speaker Steven Crowder

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SMU College Republicans will host conservative political commentator Steven Crowder, who is better known for his “change my mind” signs, at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22 in McFarlin Auditorium.

The event flier describes the program as a “non-safe-space-friendly program…[that has been] banned in eight countries.”

Last month, Crowder was denied from speaking at DePaul University, though the school later said it would “reconsider” the decision.

At the South by Southwest festival in Austin last week, an intern for Crowder’s program crashed an LGBT meetup saying he identified as a computer. He was kicked out of the festival.

Twitter and Youtube temporarily suspended Crowder’s accounts after the hidden-cam video was posted.

Crowder will be taking legal action, which he says he plans to announce while at SMU.

In response to the event, OUTLaw, the LGBTQ and ally law student association at SMU, is hosting a “peaceful protest on campus…to protest SMU’s tolerance of homophobia and hate speech associated with a speaker event being hosted by an undergraduate student group,” explained OUTLaw president Joanna Pearce.

After learning about the event from the official flier, “which displays a homophobic slur adjacent to SMU’s logo and branding,” Pearce said, “the officers of OUTLaw immediately asked SMU to remove the event from any affiliation with the university in order to protect LGBTQ and other minority students.”

“The university has repeatedly insisted on hosting the event and allowing Crowder to use SMU’s logos next to a homophobic epithet,” Pearce said.

SMU College Republicans’ official event flyer

The OUTLaw protest “Against Hate Speech & Homophobia at SMU” is from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. outside of McFarlin Auditorium.

SMU Student Senate tweeted support of OUTLaw’s protest on Tuesday.

Crowder has responded to the protest on his website Louder with Crowder referring to the organization as a “gaggle of college crybabies who’re soiling their diapers over the mere thought of Steven Crowder dipping his triggering toes in their fragile campus waters,” Crowder said.

Crowder further defended himself.

“Steven is neither hateful nor homophobic. Does he use language the LGBTQAAIP…to the power of penis swordplay find offensive? Let’s go with yes,” Crowder wrote.

Crowder is not the only one responding to OUTLaw’s protest. SMU’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom will be “holding a counter-protest to support free speech on campus,” detailed their Facebook event. The counter-protest is from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., also in front of McFarlin Auditorium.

In a campus-wide email sent Thursday, President Turner wrote, “I understand that commitments to freedom of speech and an inclusive environment can come into conflict, raising challenging and important questions for our community, as they have this month.”

He iterated that SMU does not endorse Crowder’s message.

“While the right to express ideas includes the right to express objectionable or offensive ideas, I don’t believe that language that seeks to divide communities contributes to civil discourse. It certainly is not reflective of SMU values,” Turner wrote.

This is a developing story. Continue to watch The Daily Campus for updates.

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