Event shows W&L’s ‘disregard for those with minority identities on campus’
Over 600 students and faculty at Washington and Lee University have signed on to a petition calling for conservative commentator Matt Walsh to be banned from speaking on March 30.
According to The W&L Spectator, “multiple professors from different departments” have asked students to sign the petition — even during classes.
The petition alleges Washington and Lee “continues to approve speaker events that provide one-sided platforms for harmful ideologies” — and that are in direct contradiction to the school’s DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) commitments.
“Hosting Matt Walsh’s upcoming ‘What is a Woman’ event on March 30th is just one example of W&L’s disregard for those with minority identities on campus,” the petition reads. “In his recent Tweets, [Walsh] repeatedly and intentionally misgenders well-known trans TikTok creator Dylan Mulvaney, and he refers to trans women as “men dressed in womanface” on his YouTube channel.”
The petitioners claim they’re not against Walsh’s “right to speech” — they just want W&L officials to show they do not support his “violent words.”
“While W&L’s Facility Use Policy states that allowing an event on campus does not imply endorsement of the views shared at the event,” the petition continues, “the school cannot escape responsibility for providing a platform for one-sided, non-academic, harmful rhetoric.”
MORE: W&L’s removal of George Washington portrait, other chapel changes draws protest
The Spectator notes English Professor Brenna Womer (pictured), the first faculty member to sign the petition who uses the pronouns “she/they,” sent an email to colleagues stating Walsh “is an extremely dangerous person who represents a very real threat of physical violence against trans and nonbinary people specifically, but also to all women, queer people, and people of color.”
Womer said the title of Walsh’s tour, “What Is a Woman?,” should more accurately be called “Trans People Don’t Exist.” She asked her peers not to share her email with anyone that won’t “respect the integrity” of the message.
Referring to the upcoming Walsh event, former VP of the W&L College Democrats Blake Ramsey (the 57th signatory to the petition), “reminded” everyone in a March 15 Instagram post “what happens to fascists”:
A student at Washington & Lee University took to social media to post this about @mattwalshblog's upcoming YAF speech on March 30th. A perfect example of the "tolerant left." pic.twitter.com/lbIl0eXMOT
— YAF (@yaf) March 15, 2023
Due to Ramsey’s Instagram post, a planned anti-Walsh protest and the recent departure of W&L’s interim public safety director, the number of campus cops scheduled for the Walsh event was doubled from five to ten, according to The Spectator. Local police and private security also will be on hand.
In a 2021 post in The Vigil, a progressive publication that “amplifies the voices of [W&L] marginalized students, alumni, faculty, and other individuals,” Ramsey ripped the W&L Board of Trustees for not agreeing to rename the school.
MORE: Washington and Lee U. refuses to cave, will keep its name despite demands
IMAGES: UICIYAF/YouTube screenshot; W&L screencap
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