Harvard Students Promise to Protest Charles Murray Lecture

Demonstrators to rally 'against white supremacy'

Wikimedia Commons

Harvard University students have promised to protest an on-campus Charles Murray lecture scheduled for Wednesday evening.

The program, hosted by the Harvard College Open Campus Initiative (HCOCI) in partnership with the American Enterprise Institute, will be met with demonstrators rallying "against white supremacy" outside of the event space, according to the Facebook event.

Protest organizers wrote they find it "unacceptable" that Murray had been invited to speak, given that he's been named a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that has been slammed for its classifications of conservatives and reformers of Islam as racists and Islamophobes.

The protest will be followed by a panel discussion on "racial justice," featuring university professors and co-sponsored by the Black Caucus and Black Student Association.

The Facebook event for the protest currently has over 300 individuals marked as going or interested. Meanwhile, the Murray lecture space has a capacity of 295.

Students have also taken to Facebook to call on their friends to disrupt the event inside the lecture hall.

"Who else is down to go to the Murray event and just scream until HUPD [Harvard University Police Department] takes us out," one student said in a social media post seen by the Washington Free Beacon.

Another student replied, "I'm hoping there will be enough people screaming HUPD won't be able to take us all out…But who knows there seems to be quite a few fucking Neo nazis at this institutions (including whoever in admin let [HCOCI] send a school-wide email to people who didn't want their shit) [sic]."

Conor Healy, president and co-founder of HCOCI, told the Washington Free Beacon the event will have "very intense security."

"Unfortunately, there will be officers stationed around the building and there will be a mandatory baggage check," Healy explained. "Also, the lecture is closed to only those with a Harvard ID."

Healy said Murray will be discussing his most recent book, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, but he expects the conversation will turn to the infamous Middlebury College demonstration of a Murray lecture in March, during which Murray and a college professor were physically assaulted by students.

"I'm hoping Harvard can show that it can do better [than Middlebury]," said Healy. "We are better prepared, so our odds are better. It will be disappointing if we see that happen here."

The event will include a question and answer period. According to Healy, some two-thirds of the questions submitted have been regarding Murray's controversial book The Bell Curve, a study on intelligence, class, and race. Those who accuse Murray of racism have cited the book as proof.

Healy said he was optimistic about the event turnout, adding that HCOCI's mission—to open Harvard to "diverse discourse"—has been embraced by many on campus.

"I think more people are with us than are against us, but those who oppose us can be louder," said Healy.

On the expected protest, Healy said he appreciated the students' right to express themselves in a non-violent manner, but joked, "It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so that's good."