Texas Christian University released a statement Tuesday saying a conservative comedian was “offensive” during his show’s filming on campus Monday.
Steven Crowder set up a booth on a public sidewalk on campus Monday with a sign stating “rape culture is a myth. Change my mind.”
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Crowder’s show, primarily available on Facebook, usually features him in a public area sitting behind a booth with a sign featuring a controversial statement. Beneath the words, he challenges; “Change my mind.”
In a Tuesday statement from Kathy Cavins-Tull, TCU’s vice chancellor for student affairs, Cavins-Tull wrote Crowder “makes his living by posing a divisive statement to a group, often college students, and asking them to change his mind. His method of operation is to garner a reaction from individuals, which he in turn, makes fun of while filming for his show.“
TCU students reacted strongly to Crowder’s booth, with a crowd of students forming by him near Sadler Hall.
On his Twitter, Crowder called the episode “possibly the most controversial #ChangeMyMind to date” and told people to “Get ready for the most #triggering Change My Mind yet.”
Bennet Baker, a TCU student, said he saw a group of students crying near the booth. He said Crowder’s decision to put his booth in such a central location was insensitive.
“I can see for victims how that would have been for them. Maybe it wasn’t the best spot for him, maybe he could have been at the end of the street where people could talk if they wanted to,” he said. “People with bad memories were forced to see the sign.”
Others did not want him on campus at all.
“I think the main feeling was, why are you on our campus?” sophomore Taylor Long said. “Rape culture is definitely more prevalent on a college campus. That especially made it 10 times more offensive because of its prevalence here.”
Scott Detamore said while he liked Crowder’s show last year on campus, he thought Monday’s topic was inappropriate.
“I liked the premise last year, but that was too emotionally sensitive and triggering,” he said. “Some issues are worth discussing, but that was over the top. There are people here that have been assaulted.”
Other students, however, said Crowder had a right to be on campus.
“This is public, he has every right to come out and talk whether or not people agree or disagree,” said Kaden Freeman, a sophomore. “It’s a very relevant topic with the whole Kavanaugh situation, so I don’t think that’s a far-fetched topic at all.”
In Tuesday’s statement, Cavins-Tull said the university did not host Mr. Crowder and he was on a public sidewalk on a public street. She also said Crowder’s “language and ideas, while offensive, are protected by the United States Constitution.”
“For some of the members of our community, it was a day of pain and anguish,” the statement continued. “For others, a day of disappointment that the university failed to remove the source of their pain from the public sidewalk.”
Cavins-Tull said she acknowledged that pain and disappointment caused by Crowder’s appearance on campus.
She mentioned students and groups tabling near the area and thanked “those who use their voices to push back on the university in support of better ways to host conversations that are controversial.”
“We are a community, and in the marketplace of ideas, the best remedy for bad ideas are good ideas. Let’s keep talking,” the statement said.
Cavins-Tull also listed counseling options for students.