Hampshire College Apologizes After Abruptly Canceling Conservative Speaker’s Event
Massachusetts’ Hampshire College issued an apology Wednesday after it suddenly canceled a speech by a guest conservative speaker.
Antonia Okafor is a graduate student at the University of Texas and an advocate of gun rights and campus concealed carry. On Wednesday night, she was scheduled to speak on “Female Empowerment & the Second Amendment” at the small liberal arts college known for its alternative curriculum and liberal politics.
But Okafor tweeted only hours before the event that the speech had been cancelled because administrators ruled she was speaking about a “very controversial” issue.
The Dean of @hampshirecolg (the same school that deemed the 🇺🇸 too controversial) has just now cancelled my speech scheduled in 2 hours. They deemed my topic: the second amendment… “very controversial” Stay tuned for details.
— Antonia Okafor (@antonia_okafor) December 6, 2017
Hampshire College issued a statement soon after to “sincerely apologize” for the decision, and vowed to reschedule the event.
“We did not cancel the speech because of the speaker, the subject of the speech, or the content,” the statement said. “Hampshire College values academic freedom and the careful examination of ideas, including when those ideas may be controversial.”
Instead, the administration claimed the event organizers failed to inform them the event might draw large crowds and provoke debate. “The College did not follow its own procedures in sufficiently reviewing the application before we approved it. We take responsibility for that mistake.”
Okafor is slated to give the same address tonight at nearby Mount Holyoke College, which has prompted campus activists to set up an “alternative space” for protesters to voice anger.