Andy Ngo is latest conservative speaker to experience higher ed cancel culture
Dartmouth College forced an event featuring Andy Ngo and Gabriel Nadales to occur remotely, two hours before the speakers were set to take the stage.
The college cited safety concerns and lack of communication for the decision, but the College Republicans are crying foul.
Conservative journalist Andy Ngo and former Antifa activist Gabriel Nadales were slated to headline a Jan. 20 event hosted by the Dartmouth College's College Republicans chapter titled “Extremism in America.” However, the event was canceled two hours before the speakers were set to take the stage due to a “confluence of reasons.”
Campus Reform obtained a university email to the College Republicans arguing that the event "was not canceled" because the panel was "moved online."
The email reads:
“In light of concerning information from Hanover police regarding safety issues, similar concerns expressed by the College Republican leadership, and challenges with the student organization’s ability to staff a large public event and communicate effectively (including dissemination of the visitor policy and a prohibition on bags in the building), the College has requested that the Extremism in America panel be moved online. The event was not canceled. The College has supported the event virtually.”
Universities canceling conservative events is not a new occurrence, but rather is a trend that has caused conservative students to fight an uphill battle to voice their opinions on campus.
In February, the Harvard Business School Club of NY canceled an event featuring James Lindsay after he refused to back down from the speech. According to Lindsay's tweet, the moderator of the event was changed to feature the chief diversity officer because "someone was upset that [he] existed."
Lmao! I had been invited to speak for the Harvard Business School Club of New York about Cynical Theories, and because someone was upset that I exist, they changed the moderator to their chief equity officer, Hemali Dassani, and then, when I didn't back down, cancelled the event. pic.twitter.com/hOvGQE4gFK
— James Lindsay, watching narratives crumble (@ConceptualJames) February 24, 2021
The College of the Atlantic pulled its invitation from Federalist Society co-chairman Leonard Leo due to "issued many community members had with his values."
Catholic University of America Chaplin Fr. Jude DeAngelo pressured the pro-life group Cardinals for Life to cancel their event with pro-life speaker Abby Johnson after liberal students vocalized opposition to Johnson's values.
On Jan. 20, Ngo tweet about his "cancelled [sic] live speaking event."
The admin of @dartmouth College cancelled the live speaking event about #Antifa featuring myself & @OGNadales due to security concerns. (Bomb sniffing dogs were brought in.) This is extremely disappointing but we’re continuing in a virtual capacity. 7pm ET https://t.co/YORJ4bn0yo
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) January 20, 2022
"Bomb sniffing dogs were brought in," he tweeted.
However, the Dartmouth students are refusing to accept the university's statement. Rather, College Republican President Griffin Mackey and Vice President Chloe Ezzo are accusing the university of shifting blame onto the student organization.
Mackey told Campus Reform that Dartmouth College cited a "confluence of reasons" when he asked why the event would be made virtual.
"When I asked for clarification, they told me they officially decided a few minutes prior. However, it does seem like this was a decision they had made a long time ago and only decided to announce at the last minute," Mackey said.
Security concerns, insufficient communication, and staffing were all cited as reasons the university made the decision to cancel the event.
"[Dartmouth] disrupted our event, embarrassed our organization, and created a roadmap for derailing our future activities," he continued.
A Jan. 19 email thread obtained by Campus Reform outlined the security requests made by Ezzo to increase protection due to Antifa's threats to disrupt the event. Provisions included prohibiting backpacks, checking Dartmouth IDs, and utilizing a metal detector to deter threats inside the venue.
Gene Thompson, the college's safety and security lieutenant, responded to the request and affirmed a plan was in place to “provide the safest environment possible for a successful event.”
Dartmouth Director for Institutional Events & Logistics Jim Alberghini acknowledged the email, as well, noting that while bags could be prohibited, a metal detector could not be provided.
Alberghini made it clear, as well, that the College Republicans were responsible for “the smooth execution of the event.”
Despite the arrangement, Alberghini suggested recommended transitioning the event remotely.
“If information changes or more becomes available, the College reserves the right to change the format of this event to best ensure the safety of our community and compliance with College policy," Alberghini wrote.
The Department of Safety & Security deferred to the college for comment.
In a Jan. 23 opinion piece published in the NH Journal, Mackey discredited the accusation against staffing shortages and inadequate communication by citing a list of 12 volunteers delivered to Senior Assistant Dean for Student Life Anna Dean and six meetings held with the administration the week of the event.
“Chloe was also in almost constant communication with Dartmouth administrators. So much so that I joked with Chloe on Wednesday that emailing the administration had turned into a full-time job for her,” Mackey wrote.
Ezzo described the university's actions as “horribly frustrating” and “upsetting.”
“They were grasping at straws,” Ezzo said. “They needed to make an excuse as to why they canceled our event in person.”
Ezzo is also a Campus Reform correspondent.
Mackey described similar sentiments, telling Campus Reform the statement was “embarrassing to read” and “factually false.”
“There is no mention of the Dartmouth students who made the threats of violence to get the event canceled. It’s sort of a deflection in many ways. They blame the police, they blame us, and then they say ‘Oh, well, free speech is so great,’” Mackey said.
“We’re paragons of the First Amendment. There’s no mention of the underlying reasons of why it got canceled, i.e, that people were making threats, both Dartmouth students and outside leftist groups. And they decided to cancel.”
Tensions spiked ahead of the event when local Antifa organizations began to rally support for a counter-protest that threatened physical violence against Ngo.
Northeast Antifa promoted a counter-rally for the event, tweeting “Tell Andy Ngo (a fascist propagandist), Gabe Nadales (a fascist propagandist), Turning Point USA & every other fascist to GTFO of Dartmouth College.”
RALLY AGAINST ANDY NGO
Tell Andy Ngo (a fascist propagandist), Gabe Nadales (a fascist propagandist), Turning Point USA & every other fascist to GTFO of Dartmouth College on January 20th, 2022. pic.twitter.com/MQYcwcv3qQ
— Northeast FASHWATCH (@northeastantifa) January 18, 2022
The thread continued to invite “anti-fascists” from the New England region to “disrupt & prevent fascist propagandists like Andy Ngo from normalizing their reactionary beliefs on college campuses in the Northeast.”
Participants were instructed to “wear black” to “protect [their] identity.”
“As anti-fascists, it is our responsibility to the communities we serve to never give fascists a safe space to spew their lies,” the thread concluded. “All power to the people.”
The Dartmouth Anarchists, a student-led organization, promoted the protest on Instagram with the caption “So long as we stand, Dartmouth will never be a safe space for right-wingers to spew their misinformation. Wear black to show your solidarity and hide your identity!”
One Antifa activist from Portland, Oregon, attempted to bribe protesters by offering “money for anyone who managed to assault Ngo during his Dartmouth appearance.”
Prior to the event, a bomb squad and dogs were instructed to sweep the building to rule out potential harm.
Ngo publicized his own account of the events that transpired on Thursday, and shared Mackey’s sentiment concerning the cancelation.
“By giving in, Dartmouth just handed Antifa a blueprint on shutting down future events. And sure enough, the same Antifa accounts that made the threats took a victory lap,” Ngo accused.
The lack of action in condemning the Antifa actions has raised concerns within the chapter, as well. According to Mackey, the College Republicans will not host another event until clarity is received.
“Dartmouth’s action of canceling the in-person event has emboldened [Antifa] to make more threats, to cancel more of our events," Mackey said. "So, our club's calculation is that that we are not going to host events at Dartmouth for the time.”
The Dartmouth Anarchists took a victory lap following the event’s cancelation, taking pride in “prov[ing] that [they] will not tolerate fascist speech.”
However, the student group claims no responsibility for on-campus reactions.
“Success! Deplatforming is just one of many components of anti-fascism, but last night shows its effectiveness as a tactic. Nice work to everyone who participated (whoever you may be),” the post read.
Campus Reform has covered numerous attempts made by students to shut down speakers that promote conservative views. The student-led initiative to rally community support to shut down the even as opposed to allowing freedom of expression to prevail is all too common.
Students at Saint Louis University attempted to bar Matt Walsh from campus, and when the efforts failed resorted to blocking traffic to interfere with attendance.
At Binghamton University, liberal protesters stopped Arthur Laffer from speaking by storming and occupying the room the event was occurring. Two students were arrested.
Multiple students were arrested during an Ann Coulter appearance in 2019 at the University of California-Berkeley. Students marched through campus chanting and carrying signs expressing opposition. Phrases shouted included "No Coulter, No ICE, Berkeley is a sanctuary."
Campus Reform has reached out to Dartmouth College and the Dartmouth Anarchists for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
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