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So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast takes an uncensored look at the world of free expression through personal stories and candid conversations.
New episodes post every other Thursday.

Apr 17, 2017

On April 6, Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather Mac Donald was standing in Claremont McKenna College’s Athenaeum preparing to give a lecture to an empty room.

An empty room was not what Mac Donald expected when she traveled to California from her New York City home to deliver a lecture on her new book, “The War On Cops.” But outside the auditorium, close to 300 people had surrounded the Athenaeum, preventing prospective audience members from entering. They were protesting Mac Donald’s defense of law enforcement policing tactics and her criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ultimately, the college livestreamed Mac Donald’s talk to those who could not attend in person. But the talk was cut short during the question and answer period after police and administrators determined that it was unsafe for her to remain in the building. The crowd was allegedly out of control, and Mac Donald could hear banging on the windows. Her exit through the kitchen of the Athenaeum into an unmarked Claremont Police Department van was coordinated by walkie-talkie.

Heather Mac Donald is our guest on today’s “extra” edition of “So to Speak.” Mac Donald is the latest speaker on campus to fall victim to the “heckler’s veto.” During our conversation, I ask Mac Donald what she was thinking as she heard the crowd outside banging on the Athenaeum’s windows. I also asked her what it says about the environment for free inquiry on campus that a scholar must escape under police protection through the kitchen of a campus building for presenting nothing more than an argument?

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