Political Groups on Campus Review Decision to Host Gavin McInnes


Diamond Naga Siu

The presence of Gavin McInnes, alt-right co-founder of VICE, incited a riot on campus last Thursday that resulted in 11 arrests. Various political groups on campus reacted to the protest in different ways.

Arushi Sahay, Contributing Writer

Shortly after this article was published, controversy ensued as Gavin McInnes threatened to sue Washington Square News over a line that called him a “public figure who is known for his controversial political opinions on women’s rights, the Holocaust and Nazis.” The original article only hyperlinked women’s rights with evidence to support the claims, but both the news editor and reporter had evidence to support all three claims — these resources are now hyperlinked. The link for Holocaust demonstrates his blatant disregard to the significance of the time’s bloodshed and suffering, where he demonstrates the Sieg Hiel salute on episode 250 of his show, and the link for Nazis leads to an article penned by McInnes himself that rallies for Nazis in America to join forces. – Diamond Naga Siu, Editor-in-Chief

After a protest that ended in 11 arrests, political groups on campus reflected on whether the NYU College Republicans had made a mistake in hosting alt-right writer Gavin McInnes at the university last Thursday.

McInnes’ speech, which was supposed to be an hour long, was cut short after 20 minutes. The crowd almost immediately began to protest against the VICE co-founder and public figure who is known for his controversial political opinions on women’s rights, the Holocaust and Nazis.

Tisch senior and NYUCR Treasurer Jack Kapulsky helped organize the event. He said that liberal students had disrespected McInnes and did not give him the attention he deserved.   

“What kind of a reaction can you have to a speech when said speech is being completely drowned out and cut short by a horde of wailing children?” Kapulsky said. “If these disruptors were rational beings, they would participate in the dialogue and ask a question. But when Gavin offered one of them the microphone, that person ignored the opportunity and kept on screeching.”

Kapulsky said that even though protesters sought to drown out McInnes, their actions actually generated interest in NYUCR.

“Thankfully, their stupidity and incivility continues to be the laughing stock of the sane community, and their shenanigans just move more and more people to the right,” Kapulsky said. “Interest in our club is now at an all-time high.”

Many of the protesters identified as members of NYU Anti-Fascists. CAS senior and NYU College Democrats President Michael DeLuca said that the purpose of the protest was to express the outrage that students had toward the university for allowing McInnes to speak.  

“The protests were intended to shine a light on McInnes’ character,” DeLuca said. “I have no reservations saying he is a sexist and nationalist bigot. The protests were meant to reveal that it was a misguided stunt by the College Republicans in hosting him. In doing so, they provided a platform and an audience for hate speech.”

DeLuca said that in general, protests at NYU remain peaceful, and that this particular event was not an accurate portrayal of the political climate at NYU. He also said that NYUCR should have invited a less polarizing speaker.

“The Muslim Students Association rally just a few nights earlier was a much better representation of the climate at NYU,” DeLuca said. “McInnes is a speaker that is deliberately inciting and provocative. The College Republicans should have known better than to invite such a disgusting guest.”

Members of other political parties had more neutral views on McInnes’ presence at NYU. CAS junior and NYU Libertarians Chairman Weston Richey emphasized that though all views are valid, it is also important to note the impact of potentially hateful words.

“College Libertarians, as a club, broadly hold many nonstandard political views that many at NYU may and do disagree with,” Richey said. “However, I as a gay person also know the power of words, and their ability to hurt, silence and alienate.”

Though he supports peaceful protests, Richey said he thinks it is important that in the future these protests do not become violent.

“Our political climate on campus is tense and highly charged, but it cannot be violent,” Richey said. “If it is, or if it becomes that way, then that constitutes a great failure on our part to hang onto our kindness and our decency. Not just as NYU students, but as people.”

Email Arushi Sahay at [email protected].