President says group’s ‘history of violence’ inspired the decision
A college in Vancouver, Washington, is planning to close Monday because a conservative group will be demonstrating on its campus.
Clark College President Bob Knight released a letter to the campus community Thursday explaining the rationale. “Many accounts of violence have been associated with events organized by” Patriot Prayer, he wrote.
Patriot Prayer is protesting Initiative 1639, a state bill that would implement several gun-control measures. They include more background checks on purchases of semi-automatic rifles, raising the age for semi-automatic rifle purchase to 21, and a 10-day waiting period.
“Given the history of violence associated with this group, as well as with the groups that often appear in reaction to it,” Knight wrote, “and given that the group has not taken the steps we normally expect organizations to complete in advance of First Amendment activities on our property, we feel that suspending operations is our most prudent course of action.”
According to The Oregonian, Patriot Prayer has planned a second demonstration at the Vancouver branch of Washington State University on Tuesday.
Patriot Prayer is a right-wing group known for demonstrations that draw violence, such as in Berkeley, California, where the group clashed with counter-protesters last year.
WSU-Vancouver Chancellor Mel Netzhammer took a different tack from his Clark College counterpart in a Facebook post.
“Free speech laws prevent us from disallowing this group from coming to our campus, but we can choose not to engage,” he wrote, asking professors not to penalize students who do not come to campus.
h/t Inside Higher Ed
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