According to university news outlet The Exponent, Knowles spoke for over an hour in the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom to a crowd of over 400 attendees. Another large crowd gathered in the South Ballroom to watch the speech on televisions.
The event was announced earlier this month and quickly garnered negative reactions from left leaning students and faculty.
In response to the event, Purdue’s Graduate Student Government passed a resolution stating that by allowing Knowles to speak on campus, the university was "providing a platform for Knowles to continue to verbally attack and call for violence against transgender and gender nonconforming students."
Earlier this the university’s Faculty Senate passed a similar resolution calling for support of LGBTQ students, claiming that "the proposed invited campus speaker incites existential harm toward Boilermakers and Indiana citizens."
Purdue’s administration said that Knowles did not represent the university and encouraged "anyone who disagrees with student organization speakers' viewpoints to speak up with theirs."
Hours before Knowles began his address, hundreds of far-left protesters gathered in front of PMU and after chanting outside for approximately 45 minutes. They then went inside and continued to chant in a hallway outside of where Knowles would be speaking.
The campus outlet reported that protests continued after Knowles began his speech and that police moved many of the protestors out of the hallway, but approximately a dozen remained while the rest were blocked by police and Purdue administrators.
Simultaneously, a second protest event called the “Block Party to Eradicate Transphobia” was held.
A member of Purdue’s student government Lilli Ferguson told a local TV outlet, “It is an opportunity for students. It is a celebration, but it is not a protest in any way whatsoever.”
Ferguson also claimed the block party had no ties to the protest and was a welcoming event with arts and crafts and a drag show.
During his speech entitled “Our National Identity Disorder,” Knowles began his address by poking fun at the protesters noting the two planned protests to his speech and saying, “My critics are so confused, they can’t even agree on how to protest me.”
Knowles held up two of the posted flyers from around campus that read, “no fascists on campus and stated that fascism was “far too modern and progressive” an ideology for him.
The protesters were referring to a speech Knowles gave at CPAC during which he called for the ideology of transgenderism to be eradicated from public life. he defended the speech saying, “We should not delude people who don’t know who they are, we should help them and correct them.”
He added that America must make a choice between visions. “If we get our way, the preposterous ideology of transgenderism will be eradicated from public life. If [liberals] get their way, the distinct categories of man and woman will be eradicated from public life.”
“Those are the choices,” he added at the time. “There can be no middle ground or simultaneous establishment of opposing premises. We will live according to one view or the other. One view, one identity, must win, the other must lose.”
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