Texas Christian University publicly denounced some of conservative commentator Steven Crowder’s views after he hosted a “change my mind” event at the school, stating that Crowder’s views “adversely affected” students on campus.

Crowder asked people to argue why “rape culture” isn’t a myth, according to a tweet he posted on Monday.

TCU noted that Crowder hosted the event on public property and so, therefore, his speech was protected under the U.S. Constitution. But the university also condemned the commentator’s message.

“Today, Steven Crowder chose to challenge our students on a public sidewalk in front of the university. While the Constitution gives him the right to express his views, the sentiments he expressed do not align with TCU’s values,” the university said in a tweet. “His views adversely affected many members of our campus community. The health and safety of the Horned Frog Family is of utmost importance and we encourage individuals to contact campus resources for support.”

TCU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Kathy Cavins-Tull further addressed the incident in a campus-wide email, according to the TCU student newspaper TCU 360.

“For some of the members of our community, it was a day of pain and anguish,” Cavins-Tull said. “For others, a day of disappointment that the university failed to remove the source of their pain from the public sidewalk. I want to acknowledge the pain that I saw yesterday and the disappointment that I heard. I also want to acknowledge those who used their voices to oppose to Mr. Crowder and even to criticize the University. Speech is protected for you, too.”

Nicole Neily, president of the free speech advocacy organization Speech First, told Campus Reform that TCU is a private institution and is not bound by the First Amendment, but that the school should realize that “free speech and respect aren’t mutually exclusive values.”

“While TCU is free to determine the values it promotes as a private institution not bound to uphold the First Amendment, free speech and respect aren’t mutually exclusive values, and by treating them as a zero-sum equation it sends a bad message to the university community,” Neily said. “If the school believes that dignity and seriousness are more important values than free speech and open discourse, then they should make that abundantly clear both in their student handbook as well as their recruiting documents.”


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