Claremont McKenna has told six students who tried to shut down a speech by Heather Mac Donald that they face suspension or expulsion, their lawyer told local media.
The university has completed its investigation report, and on Monday, it began disciplinary hearings for at least two of the protestors.
Mac Donald, a pro-police author who has written critically about Black Lives Matter, was scheduled to speak at Claremont McKenna on April 6. Around 250 students attempted to block the entrance to the auditorium, chanting “shut it down” and “f*ck the police.”
Mac Donald attempted to deliver her speech by livestream, but students surrounded the building, pounding on the windows. Eventually, campus police had to escort her away from the university, sneaking her out through a kitchen; Mac Donald later criticized protestors for the “exercise of brute totalitarian force.”
Justice Warriors 4 Black Lives, the group representing the students, held a news conference this week defending the protestors’ actions. They accused Mac Donald of rhetorical violence and said her opinions “made students concerned for their safety and led to the campus protests.”
The demonstrators were simply trying to “protect their communities from the racist rhetoric of a woman whose scholarship justifies the extrajudicial killings of black folks and other violence against marginalized groups,” spokeswoman Povi-Tamu Bryant said.
She also described the protests as “entirely peaceful” and said the students were “exercising their right to free speech.” As Bryant spoke, a student stood in the background holding a sign saying, “Hate Speakers Endanger Students.”
The university also revealed yesterday that protestors also took apart barrier fencing that separated demonstrators from attendees, endangering both campus security and students attempting to attend the speech.
The protestors weren’t arrested on the spot, Claremont McKenna’s president said this spring, because “any forced interventions or arrests would have created unsafe conditions for students, faculty, staff, and guests.”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.