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We’re facing threats of violence for inviting fired Google engineer James Damore to campus

This isn’t Andy Ngo’s first rodeo when it comes to controversial events at Portland State University.

Flyers for his group’s screening of a film on Muslim apostates were torn down and a glass case advertising it was vandalized with “Atheist Islamophobia is NOT OKAY.”

“The local Antifa gang” tried to disrupt the group’s event with free-speech luminaries last year, but largely failed thanks to a “heavy presence of campus police, bodyguards and private security.”

Now it seems the entire City of Roses is trying to shut down Freethinkers of PSU’s Saturday event with the fired Google engineer James Damore, author of the oft-misrepresented “Google memo” on sex differences and career paths, Ngo writes in The Wall Street Journal.

We already knew the administration wanted to drown out the Damore event with its own three-day diversity series, but some opponents are more zealous, Ngo writes:

The left-wing newspaper Willamette Week published an article with a false and inflammatory headline: “Tech Bro Fired from Google for Saying Women Are Biologically Unfit to Be Engineers Will Speak at PSU Next Month.” The subheadline inaccurately attributed to Mr. Damore the view that “women can’t do math.” …

A person claiming to work for campus audiovisual services tweeted that he could break into our event through a back entrance and “literally turn the whole building off.” There were threats of violence. A Facebook user—it’s not clear if he’s connected to PSU—suggested he’d throw “active grenades” at Mr. Damore onstage. …

Opponents also attempted to deny our event an audience by hoarding the free tickets and not using them.

Ngo says campus police denied the group a larger venue capable of satisfying the huge demand for the event, citing security threats.

That is a classic example of caving to the heckler’s veto, and it’s flatly unconstitutional for a public university, which is not allowed to treat groups differently based on the reactions to their speech.

The incident reinforces why Ngo views the “secular religion” of intersectionality the same as his former evangelical Christian faith, and how PSU introduced him to “a new kind of fundamentalism, many of whose adherents claim to disavow religion”:

PDX Women in Tech, a local activist group, proclaimed itself “disheartened and appalled” that we were “engaging in discourse without an opposing viewpoint.” If they’d asked us, they’d have known we invited every tenured and tenure-track professor from the women’s studies department and were rebuffed. …

Intersectionality’s true believers tend to be far less tolerant than traditional religious believers with their sophisticated apologetics. To intersectionalists, skepticism is an existential threat. To question their beliefs, I’ve been told, constitutes “debating someone’s right to exist.”

Read the op-ed.

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