Conservative Students Fined After Liberals Cause $18K Worth of Damage

Sarah Merly | June 8, 2023
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size

It’s a simple premise -  those who damage property should be punished for it. The University of Pittsburgh, however, has a different take based on your political affiliation.

In April, conservative podcaster Michael Knowles and journalist Brad Polumbo arrived on campus for a debate titled, “Should Transgenderism Be Regulated by Law?” Polumbo was set to argue for trans rights, while Knowles was slated to argue against them. The UPitt Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and College Republicans clubs partnered to hold the debate at the O’Hara Student Ballroom.

Unfortunately, liberal protesters invaded the scene even before the debate began. “Roughly 250 protesters filled the streets outside the event,” said Polumbo. “I was escorted from my hotel by armed plainclothes security officers to the venue and through the main door, meaning I came right through the angry mob that was only being held back by a police line.”

After protestors burned Knowles in effigy outside, several audience members inside screamed “Trans rights are human rights!” as soon as Knowles began to speak. Police then escorted them outside and issued an emergency warning, exhorting citizens to stay away from the university.

Now, UPitt is requiring the ISI and College Republicans student organizations to pay $18,734 for the problems caused by liberal protesters.

“This is exactly the type of suppression the First Amendment forbids,” says  Alliance for Defending Freedom’s Philip A. Sechler. “Implementing such security fees as part of an attempt to shut down a legitimate campus event is what’s known as a ‘heckler’s veto,’ an action which unconstitutionally allows those who oppose certain speech to censor it simply by protesting it.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has also published a letter to Geovette Washington, CLO at UPitt, exposing the university’s backing of the liberal supporters.

Related: Go Woker, Go Broker: Bud Light Co-Sponsors 'All-Ages' Pride Event in Arizona

“...[O]n April 14, Professor Mahoney advised her students that ‘the Theatre Arts department, along with many other departments, students, faculty, and staff at Pitt, strongly condemns this event and has called on the University to cancel Knowles’ appearance due to his history of spreading hate speech and inciting violence against trans people,’” writes Sechler. “She added, ‘Unfortunately, it looks as though the event is still scheduled to take place,’ and invited students to participate in ‘several events planned for Tuesday April 18 in response to Knowles’ unwelcome presence on campus.’”

Sechler continues, “After these provocative communications, signs were posted throughout campus calling on students to ‘Shut Down Michael Knowles’ by showing up at Cathedral Lawn on April 18 at 6:45 pm–i.e., one of the events Professor Mahoney urged her students to attend.”

ADF also demands that the University respect constitutional rights. “‘We urge Pitt officials to swiftly rescind this unlawful fee and amend their policies to protect every students freedom of speech.’”

Follow MRCTV on Twitter!