Conservative speaker doused during UMKC speech slams chancellor over response

Knowles was at UMKC giving a speech, titled, "Men are not Women," when the incident occurred.

Conservative speaker Michael Knowles called out UMKC's chancellor over his response to an incident on campus in which Knowles was doused with a bleach-like substance.

Conservative speaker Michael Knowles, who on Thursday was assaulted while speaking at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, called out the school’s chancellor for responding to the incident by “baselessly smearing me as a bigot.” 

During Knowles’ talk, titled, “Men are not Women,” a UMKC student, later identified as Gerard G. Dabu, was arrested and charged on multiple counts, including assault, as Campus Reform previously reported. In response, UMKC issued a statement condemning “physical disruptions of peaceful activities” but also made clear that it does not agree with the viewpoint Knowles espoused at the event, hosted by a conservative student organization. 

UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal, too, made sure everyone knew the school’s stance on Knowles’ talk --- before actually condemning the act.

[RELATED: Suspect in Michael Knowles UMKC assault identified, faces multiple charges]

”A student group brought a speaker to campus – a speaker whose professed opinions do not align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion and our goal of providing a welcoming environment to all people, particularly to our LGBT community,” Agrawal said in an email.

”Upon learning of this speaker’s visit, members of our UMKC community responded in the best way – by organizing and conducting a counter-event across campus Thursday afternoon focused on positive messages about diversity and inclusion. And even during the speech, some peaceful protesters stood and expressed disagreement with the speaker’s views,” Agrawal added. 

It’s worth adding that, among those who stood during Knowles’ speech to express disagreement did so in a disruptive fashion. It was not clear whether the chancellor included these disruptive individuals among the protesters who responded “in the best way.’

The chancellor went on in his statement to say that ”unfortunately, some others crossed a line” and that “UMKC must maintain a safe environment in which all points of view, even extreme ones, are allowed to be heard. Knowles slammed the chancellor’s response to the incident in a tweet Friday, calling out the administrator for sending ”baselessly smearing me as a bigot.” 


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