San Francisco State University revoked the venue for a speech by Turning Point USA contributor and former sports reporter Jon Root two days before the event began, a move which comes after former collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines was attacked by leftist students on campus.
Root was scheduled to deliver a talk entitled “How Wokeness Is Destroying America” on Wednesday. According to the Eventbrite page, the lecture was meant to highlight how “the religion of wokeness has ruined sports, culture, and the church.” Root and Gaines oppose males who self-identify as transgender from participating in women’s sports leagues, noting the physical harm and competitive disadvantages such policies inflict on female athletes.
Two days before the event was slated to begin, San Francisco State revoked the room booked for the event. A spokesperson for the school informed Turning Point USA that accommodations would be made if the event occurred virtually, warning the chapter’s president in an email that the event should be understood to be unapproved by the administration if the students appear on the public university’s campus and attempt to host the discussion.
“This event, on the back of Riley Gaines’ assault at the hands of radical, trans activists at San Francisco State, is about standing against censorship of free speech, being a voice for the brave TPUSA students on this intolerant, liberal campus who are being bullied by the administration, and most importantly, this is about sharing the truth without fear,” Root said in a statement. “This has the ability to make waves across the country — to show that San Francisco State and other radical leftist campuses can’t silence conservatives.”
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk recently warned that the student organization would pursue legal action against San Francisco State if administrators attempted to nix the event with Root. “You’d better not cancel the event, because you guys are bound by the First Amendment, and you’d better believe we have great lawyers who would love to file a lawsuit,” he remarked.
Gaines was attacked earlier this month by a mob of San Francisco State students who opposed her stance on prohibiting men from competing in women’s sports. Administrators issued a statement claiming that the student demonstrators “peacefully” expressed their views, even though police barricaded Gaines in a room for several hours as students debated whether she should be allowed to leave campus. Gaines reported on social media that she was “ambushed and physically hit twice by a man” as she attempted to leave after her speech.
The former elite collegiate swimmer, who tied for fifth place with self-identified transgender swimmer Lia Thomas at the NCAA Championship last year, condemned the last-minute cancellation of Root’s venue. “So much for being a place that welcomes diversity,” she said.
Free expression at American colleges has been threatened in recent years as faculties become increasingly Left-of-center, producing environments in which conservative academics and students report pressure to self-censor and experience overt instances of censorship. Fifth Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan was verbally accosted by protesters and a diversity administrator at Stanford University as he attempted to deliver a speech to law students, an incident that drew attention to censorship on college campuses weeks before Gaines was attacked.