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Purdue students react as conservative commentator speaks on transgender rights

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — Purdue University’s College Republicans on Thursday night will host Daily Wire conservative commentator Michael Knowles, who is set to give a speech on transgender issues.

Spencer Johnson, communications director for the College Republicans, said, “I think that’s something especially in the political climate today that needs to be emphasized is the ability to have civil debate, especially on heated issues.”

Johnson says they are expecting protests and have already put in extra security measures. “We’ll have Landmark Events services doing metal detection, just to ensure that there’s no weapons being brought into the venue, ensuring that all the attendees do remain safe during this event, as well as police presence from Purdue University Police Department.”

Johnson says they are expecting from 400-600 people to attend.

At the same time, “Block Party to Eradicate Transphobia” will also be happening. Lilli Ferguson, a member of Purdue’s Student Government, said, “It is an opportunity for students. It is a celebration, but it is not a protest in any way whatsoever.”

Ferguson says the block party was designed as a welcoming event with arts and crafts and a drag show, and has no ties to any protests. “I think that being able to uplift and empower those voices to be able to come to the forefront and have a platform for that celebration. I think is more important now than ever.”

The Bloc Party was to begin at 6 pm. The College Republicans Forum was to begin at 7.

In a letter obtained by I-Team 8, the Young America’s Foundation threatened to sue Purdue University, claiming the school had tried to stop the Knowles’ event from happening.

Purdue University sent a statement to I-Team 8.

“External speakers do not represent the university. We encourage anyone who disagrees with student organization speakers’ viewpoints to speak up with theirs.”

Michael Knowles attends the cast screening of “Terror On The Prairie” at AMC DINE-IN Thoroughbred 20 on June 13, 2022, in Franklin, Tennessee. (Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images for Daily Wire)