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Hundreds Protest Controversial Speaker At Indiana University

Police detained at least one person during a large protest at Indiana University Tuesday night.

Hundreds of people gathered outside Franklin Hall on the Bloomington campus to protest controversial political scientist Charles Murray, who spoke about his most recent book on the presidential election.

Murray’s lectures sparked similar protests on other college campuses. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Murray a white supremacist and says his research is based on racist pseudo-science from Nazi sympathizers, eugenicists and advocates of white racial superiority.

Protest organizer and IU student Abby Ang says many people wanted IU to cancel the event, but when that didn’t happen it was important to show up in opposition.

"His viewpoints have helped validate a lot of people's racist and xenophobic views."

"His viewpoints have helped validate a lot of people's racist and xenophobic views," Ang says. “It’s just embarrassing for an institute of higher learning to give his research legitimacy when it has been debunked by so many different scholars."

The group stood outside the building where the lecture took place, chanting “IU betrayed us,” “Charles Murray go away,” and more.

Police anticipated protests and boosted security, locking down Franklin Hall at 4 p.m. and only allowing students with classes or ticket holders into the building. Dozens of officers from Indiana University Police, Bloomington Police, Indiana State Police and private security monitored the event.

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After the lecture ended, small groups of protesters gathered at the various exits. As several police cars attempted to leave Franklin Hall, a group of a few dozen people blocked the way with linked arms. IUPD officers threatened to arrest anyone remaining, but after about 15 minutes the crowd dispersed and the vehicles left.

Witnesses say Murray left through another door, where a few protesters moved toward his vehicle. Police detained one of the protesters, who identified herself only as Stella, and took her inside Franklin Hall.

About 150 protesters remained outside the building chanting “Free Stella" until police released her about 15 minutes later. Stella says the officers told her they would file a report but didn’t say for what charges.

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In a statement before the event took place, IU spokesperson Margie Smith-Simmons said, “As an institution, Indiana University cultivates an environment where a broad spectrum of ideas can be expressed and different viewpoints respected. Free expression, assembly and exchange of ideas are central to our educational mission as well as that of college campuses across the United States.”

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