On September 7, protesters at Washington College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore shouted down outspoken conservative Princeton University Professor Robert George as he gave a guest speech titled “The Truth-Seeking Mission of the University.”
“Whistles blew loudly, echoing around the room. The protesters marched in, campus security allowing them passage. Shouting from the protesters started right away, breaking up the professor’s speech,” reported the local paper, the Star Democrat. “The protesters came into Hynson Lounge, waving flags and signs symbolizing LGBT pride, about halfway through George’s lecture. They wouldn’t stand down until it was canceled.…Protesters holding signs gathered against the back wall chimed in occasionally, but mainly it was the two masked individuals leading the protesters…Fast-tempo music began blaring, whistles constantly blew.”
Brian Speer, a Washington College spokesman, said that protesters “took issue with homophobic and transphobic statements that Professor George has made in the past.” He stated that “prior to the event, the College declined requests to cancel the lecture and shared an email with campus that reinforced our institutional values for informed, critical inquiry and the exploration of a wide diversity of perspectives. The College provided a number of alternate activities and reminded students that it would be a violation of the Student Honor Code to disrupt a speaker. It is unfortunate that a very small group of students chose to disrupt the lecture.”
He described the speech’s cancellation as “not consistent with the core values of the liberal arts to which Washington College is committed.”
Washington College is a private college in Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The lecture was hosted by the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College, as its inaugural Lawrence Swanstrom Memorial Lecture.
“Professor George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and the founding director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University and one of the strongest voices advocating for genuine intellectual openness and free discourse on college campuses,” said the Chestertown Spy. “This event will take place … at the heart of the Washington College campus and is free and open to the public.”
Prior to his speech being shut down, Professor George declared that “liberal arts colleges like this one have three fundamental purposes: The pursuit of truth. The preservation of that truth. And the transmission of that truth. And anything these institutions do to undermine these purposes, they shouldn’t allow,” the Star Democrat reported.
George then warned those in attendance about group think, said all great minds do not think alike, and that students need to be challenged and hear from all perspectives. That infuriated the protesters, who began deafening disruptions, according to the Star Democrat.
The Star Democrat reported that political science professor Joseph Prud’homme, the director of the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture
beseeched the protestors to allow the speaker to express his view. He said once the speaker finished, there would be time to question his perspective and have a discussion engaging everybody.
“How did Hitler rise to power?”, a protester said in a loud voice, cutting off Prud’homme.
When nobody answered him back, he said, “Because he (Hitler) was given a platform.”
The speaker said, while he was not calling George that, his ideas were dangerous to the transgender community.
Professor George is vocal critic of cancel culture and advocate of intellectual diversity on campus.