Former college swimmer Riley Gaines has taken aim at Penn State after claiming they canceled a speech she was scheduled to give at the school on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old Gaines, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, makes a living lecturing against transgender sports — and will still speak at State College in Pennsylvania to mark what’s being called “Real Women’s Day.”
In a series of social media posts late Monday, the anti-trans activist claimed the event had been canceled — before a statement from the school clarified it was still going ahead, and blamed a group that brought Gaines to campus for missing a reservation deadline.
Officials said they are now in contact with Gaines and the nonprofit Turning Point USA, and they are “taking steps to create a safe environment for the event, consistent with university policy and the First Amendment.”
The statement, shared with DailyMail.com, refuted claims by Gaines made an hour earlier and insisted that the school, anticipating possible public outcry, pulled the plug on the event, prompting a scathing response from the swimmer.
In it, she recorded a video of the school’s president recently defending freedom of speech in September, in an attempt to expose the school’s hypocrisy.
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Former swimmer Riley Gaines, an outspoken critic of transgender people in sports, targeted Penn State on Monday night for canceling a speech she was scheduled to give on Tuesday
The trans-related talk was to mark what’s being called “Real Women’s Day,” and Gaines still promised to make an appearance. She also included a video of the school’s president recently defending freedom of speech in September, in an apparent attempt to expose the school’s hypocrisy.
In it, Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi — after taking her stand just over a year ago — explains how the school, as a state institution, is “bound by the First Amendment” to bring in speakers “who many will consider controversial . ‘
At one point she says, “I have no doubt that we will encounter speakers who many will consider controversial – either because their views are not widely supported or because a speaker espouses ideas that are actively hateful.”
“I share the concerns of those who believe that the messages being spread by some individuals are not only offensive, but deeply hurtful.
“And again,” she continues, “I agree with those who condemn such speakers and their rhetoric.
“You may wonder: If so many people, including the president of the university, find these speakers so objectionable, why can’t we just ban them from our campuses?” she continues, before citing the school’s duty to protect students’ rights.
“First,” she explains, “a public university (Penn State) is bound by the First Amendment.”
She then explains the perceived purpose of the 231-year-old amendment: to designate it as the law of our land that protects citizens from government censorship.
“Without the First Amendment,” she warns, “your access to information would be threatened.
“Limiting the speech of one group or individual endangers the rights of everyone, because the same laws and regulations used to silence bigots can be used to silence you,” she later states .
With that in mind, Gaines blasted school officials for seemingly going back on their word.
“There is no way that the president of Penn State would make an entire video explaining why public institutions are legally required to allow ‘bigots,’ apparently like me, to speak on campus, and then proceed to CANCEL my speech tomorrow.” , she wrote, sharing a series of laughing emojis. her entertainment.
Gaines, a University of Kentucky graduate seen here last March after finishing fifth with Lia Thomas in the 200-meter freestyle at the NCAA championships, now makes a living lecturing against transgender people in sports. She would speak before officials pulled the plug
With the clip in tow, Gaines blasted school officials for seemingly reneging on their vows to protect free speech on campus due to its public school status.
“Do it your way,” she added. ‘See you tomorrow with a soapbox and a megaphone.’
The name of the planned procession – apart from being an obvious jab at transgender people – refers to the date of the day, which can be spelled with the Roman numerals XX. Women have two X chromosomes at birth.
As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, the anti-trans activist, who finished in fifth place with Lia Thomas in the 200-meter freestyle final at the NCAA Championships last year, has not issued a statement confirming that she will actually attend.
That said, the conversation, if held, could pave the way for a possible clash on campus.
In her video, Bendapudi, an Indian-American with a nearly 30-year career in academia, explains how the funding the school raises annually forces them to play with potentially problematic speakers.
“So what can we do about speakers who come to Penn State to anger, hurt and incite members of our community?” Bendapudi asks before answering, “Speak out clearly and decisively against hate speech and other cases of discrimination.”
She encourages dueling protests, similar to those seen on Tuesday, and then claims, “Hurtful rhetoric is causing real fear and anxiety among our community, and those individuals need your support.”
Penn State University’s media relations department released the following statement saying the event will still take place on the University Park Campus.
“As an institution of higher education, Penn State encourages free and open discussion as a way to strengthen our democracy and promote critical thinking and growth, and the university has a variety of speakers on its campuses,” it said.
“No event featuring Riley Gaines at Penn State has ever been canceled.”
It continued: “Initially, Turning Point USA, the student group that brought Ms. Gaines to campus, sought indoor space but failed to meet the deadline for submitting required reservation documents – an expectation that was maintained for every recognized student organization at Penn State.
“The group then shared alternative plans for an outdoor event to celebrate freedom of speech, and last week they had no confirmation that Ms. Gaines would attend the event, but they sent confirmation early this morning.
“University leaders learned Monday evening via social media that Gaines is coming to the University Park campus on October 10,” officials wrote.
“Penn State personnel are in contact with the student body to take steps to create a safe environment for the event, consistent with university policy and the First Amendment.”