Texas Christian University publicly denounced Steven Crowder -- a conservative activist and YouTube personality -- because of his “Change my Mind” event on Monday. The Fort Worth-based university released a statement saying that Crowder’s views “adversely affected” its students. Having set up a table and camera on a public sidewalk, Crowder asked students why “rape culture” isn't a myth, according to a tweet he posted.

"[F]ree speech and respect aren't mutually exclusive values..."    

In a tweet, TCU wrote that Crowder placed himself on public property. It was thus that his speech was protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, TCU condemned his views. “Today, Steven Crowder chose to challenge our students on a public sidewalk in front of the university. While the Constitution gives him the right to express his views, the sentiments he expressed do not align with TCU’s values,” the university said in a tweet. “His views adversely affected many members of our campus community. The health and safety of the Horned Frog Family is of utmost importance and we encourage individuals to contact campus resources for support.”

In response, Crowder tweeted: “ow do views “adversely affect” members of the campus community? Particularly the view that TCU does NOT in fact, tolerate a “‘ape culture’. Does TCU disagree with that position?” 

In a campus-wide email, TCU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Kathy Cavins-Tull addressed the issue, too. According to TCU 360, the TCU student newspaper: 

“For some of the members of our community, it was a day of pain and anguish. For others, a day of disappointment that the university failed to remove the source of their pain from the public sidewalk. I want to acknowledge the pain that I saw yesterday and the disappointment that I heard. I also want to acknowledge those who used their voices to oppose to Mr. Crowder and even to criticize the University. Speech is protected for you, too.”

Nicole Neily of Speech First, which advocates for free speech, told Campus Reform that TCU is a private institution and is thus not bound by the First Amendment. However, she said that TCU should understand that “free speech and respect aren't mutually exclusive values.”

The “Louder with Crowder” enraged some students, dozens of which queued up to challenge Crowder. Crowder himself responded to criticisms, tweeting: “Actually, I welcomed students (and faculty) to sit down and have a productive conversation in rationalizing our positions.” He wrote, “You know, what higher learning is supposed to be! Very proud of the students who engaged respectfully. Embarrassed by those who screamed and wept.”
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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