“How Does This Keep Transgender Students Safe?”: Pittsburgh Under Fire for Allowing Conservatives to Speak on Campus

This week, the University of Pittsburgh was under fire from State Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes, who objected to conservative speakers, including competitive swimmer Riley Gaines, Daily Wire commentator Michael Knowles, and Daily Wire podcast host Cabot Phillips. Mayes’ objections reflect the growing anti-free speech movement, and its rationale of “speech-as-harm” that is sweeping the nation.

Mayes made her comments in a House Appropriations budget hearing, citing a petition titled “Hold the University Of Pittsburgh Accountable in Protecting LGBTQIA+ Individuals,” which had garnered thousands of signatures of people who seek to block opposing views from being heard at the university. The petition simply declares their views to be harmful and maintains that “this harassment and antagonism are not part of the exercise of free speech.”

Mayes objected that:

“It has come to my attention that three speakers who have crossed the line of free speech over into hate speech targeting transgender students and the transgender community, they’re coming to campus beginning this Friday. One of them saying essentially that transgender people should be eradicated

…So, Chancellor you’re allowing them to come on campus. How does this keep transgender students safe? ‘How does this keep LGBTQ+ students safe at my Alma Mater and how does this align with the values at the University of Pittsburgh and its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity, and you know, making sure that it’s an inclusive place for all students.”

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, however, responded that

“the university is a place of dialogue and in fact both constitutional and academic free speech are things that I am obligated to support. Which means that many of the rules governing, in this case extracurricular activities by registered student organizations has to be applied independent of the content of the events.”

He added “The one thing that makes this very challenging is there is a tendency to want to define what the university stands for by who’s allowed to speak on the campus and therein lies the problem.”

That only seemed to set off Mayes who declared:

“From here as the Representative and Pitt as part of my district I certainly echo my call for you to cancel the speakers who are coming to campus and I stand with the almost 11,000 students and supporters on campus who have asked you to do the same.”

So Mayes would have the university simply ban anyone like Gaines who questions the fairness of allowing transgender women to compete in sports with biological females. Gaines has been outspoken in her criticism of this trend since she tied with then-Penn swimmer Lia Thomas, who is transgender, at the NCAA championships last year.

The left has increasingly labeled anyone raising such views as hateful and has launched cancel campaigns against those who are declared “TERFs” for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. The term is used for feminists who have voiced opposition to transgender policies and laws that they believe “erase” or “marginalize” biological women. The most famous such figure is author J.K. Rowling who has not only been the subject of a global cancel campaign but was listed by Buzzfeed with figures like cult leader Jim Jones, Benedict Arnold and O.J. Simpson as “villains.” Even a bar showing a Harry Potter game was recently targeted due to the association with Rowling.

On campus, the speech-as-harm rationale is used widely to curtail free speech, even in refusing to recognize free speech groups.

This dangerous trend in academia is discussed in my law review article, Jonathan Turley, “Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States”, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

124 thoughts on ““How Does This Keep Transgender Students Safe?”: Pittsburgh Under Fire for Allowing Conservatives to Speak on Campus”

  1. You’re just pathetic. Read your thread its full of some of the most hateful people in the world. That’s because you’re not about free speech, Turley. You’re just a transphobe who can only mention LGBTQ+ in the three years reading this site if you’re trashing them. Their free speech rights are under fire but you never come out to defend them. I used to admire you and now I just see you as a con artist feeding hate with your blog posts. The comments on these threads confirm it. You just egg on the hate and, yes, you are responsible for that.

    1. If you don’t like someone’s speech, just call them hateful and call their speech hate speech. Voila! Then you don’t need to go through the mental effort of actually engaging with ideas or even specify what particular assertion is hateful. Just engage in name-calling (transphobe, con artist) and make unsubstantiated generalizations (you just egg on hate). See how easy that is? You’ve learned your rules-for-radicals lessons well, congratulations.

    2. Copy and paste the part of Turley’s post you find “transphobic.”

      I expect you’ll post nothing. Or you may cut and past language that no normal person interprets as transphobic but you imagine it has been deviously coded to appeal to transphobes. I think the kooksphere calls this imaginary coding that only liberals can see as “dog whistles”.

      We’ll wait. This should be interesting.

    3. >hate

      Irrelevant, totally inappropriate as a standard for lawful speech in a constitutional system

    1. IB:

      Makes sense. Joe’s not a man, either. More unisex, equal opportunity grifter and serial pervert. So the gene structure is more XXX than XY

  2. Jonathan: So what really is the controversy about at UP? For you it is the “free speech” rights of Michael Knowles, a right-wing commentator, who was invited to speak by by conservative groups like Turning Point USA and Pitt’s college Republicans–who oppose the rights of the LGBTQ community. Michael Knowles is well known for his anti-LGBTQ views. At the recent CPAC meeting he said: “Transgenderalism must be eradicated from public life entirely”. Factually, trans people have existed through out history in every culture. But Knowles refuses to recognize reality. He turns transgender into an “ism” and thinks it should be eradicated like some plague. And this is the guy you choose to champion?

    Turning Point USA, one of the sponsors of Knowles speech, is a 501(c)(3) org opposed to LGBTQ rights. On its website is a column entitled “LGBTQ is coming for our children”. The column claims “the left is waging war on your right to raise your children…Brethren, we have to fight back. The LGBTQ is an army of dust…the left wants to corrupt your children”. You get the idea. A lot of hate speech. Charlie Kirk, the founder of TP, actively recruits and funds conservative candidates for student government positions. His donors are anonymous but he admits some donors include those “in the fossil-fuel space”. Perhaps this is why TP has organized campus opposition to calls for schools to divest from fossil-fuel companies. TP also has a “Watchlist” that outs the names of so-called “leftist” professors that don’t share TP’s agenda–trying to intimidate and silence them. That’s also an attack on “free speech”. Something you totally ignore.

    Knowles is welcome in Florida where GOP Gov. DeSantis is also at war against “wokism”. School books on LGBTQ issues are banned. The real history of Black people in America is verboten. Kids can’t learn some basic historical facts–like slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow or the Black Civil Rights movement. That has all been sanitized so little white kids won’t feel “uncomfortable”. Students are made to believe that being gay or transgender is contrary to nature and the subject is not to be discussed. And now girls can’t even discuss their periods in school!

    So now in FL the “free speech” rights of students, teachers and girls are being denied. That’s a subject you have never discussed. You would rather talk about the “free speech” rights of right-wing white commentators like Michael Knowles. But where in the Constitution does it says “free speech” applies only to white conservatives?. If you were really concerned about everyone’s “free speech” rights you would be discussing what is going on in FL. But you won’t which speaks volumes about your real commitment to the Constitution and the 1st Amendment.

    1. RE:”McIntyre:…” you would be discussing what is going on in FL.”” Do tell those of us who live here ‘what is going on!’ Perhaps it’s the fact that there isn’t enough housing being built, or infrastructure being improved fast enough to accommodate the hundreds of thousands who are relocating here from the bastions of socioeconomic and political turpitude which characterize the jurisdictions they are fleeing from? Might THAT be it?

    2. Dennis – you constantly confuse political speeches in college auditoriums, made to audiences who choose to be there, to what students are taught in schools, esp. in Florida. There is no comparison. Political speech in a publc, voluntary settting, is absolutely free under the 1st Amendment. It can range widely over any subject. By contrast, the curriculum in public schools, below the college level, is sharply limited and shaped by public authorities, who, acknowledging the primary role of parents in their childrens’ upbringing, seek to provide students (a captive audience), with what those authorities believe is truthful, useful, and mentally healthy. At least, that is what should happen. You may not agree with choices made in conservative states, but it is their choices. Perhaps where you live, you can persuade school authorities to present daily drag shows to 1st graders and abolish unisex bathrooms. Fortunately, most of America is still saner than that.

    3. Dennis, if you wish to talk about Michael Knowles, you should listen to what he says. Before he gets to the subject matter, he politely deals with the usual protestors who try to prevent him from being heard and then politely deals with the libelous MSM. He makes a lot of sense, something you lack.

      What does he say that you find objectionable?

      He also answers your question about being white since he explains why he doesn’t fit into the whiteness category. He should call people like you racists, but he is more polite than I am.

      “Transgenderalism must be eradicated from public life entirely”

      If you listen to him, he will call you a liar, which it appears you are. He quoted his exact words, and nowhere did he say what you quoted. You don’t realize how many of your quotes are phony or statements are lies because you are so used to being wrong.

      Listen to his words and then criticize him with knowledge instead of your typical stupidity.


    4. He turns transgender into an “ism” and thinks it should be eradicated like some plague. And this is the guy you choose to champion?

      Moving into the catagory of retard.
      The difference between stupid and ignorant. Ignorant is simple not knowing something. We are all ignorant of a wide swath of subjects. Stupid is lacking the ability to ‘learn” things. Then there is retard. Stupid on steroids.

      Turley is not defending any persons. He is defending the constitution.
      Good news, retards are blissfully happy. Not having their minds cluttered up with facts.

    5. No such thing as a tranny. Why do you bring race into this? No other form of argument? Knowles is right. As for Florida, it isn’t ”free speech” to indoctrinate your children w/ your perversion.

  3. Think back just a few months and consider the number times you have read that progressives or democrats or whatever the right name is are seeking to ban something, everything from contrary views in universities to gas stoves in New York. For once I would like to read that progressives “have created…” something, anything. But they know that it is so much easier to tear down what someone else has built than make the effort actually to create something. Of course they may also know that if they do build something useful that other people enjoy, one of their brethren most likely will tear it down.

  4. Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Some people need to grow up and stop being offended.

    No one forces the easily offended to attend these talks. I’m offended by the lack of tolerance and desire to censor what I say.

    Earlier in this thread there was a comment about people in New England hunting down LGBT individuals. I live in NE and that statement is misinformation.

  5. The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs, AINOs), at the behest of Karl Marx, have been waging a battle for control of America since 1860.

    Guess what? The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs, AINOs) are winning.

    And they will continue to win until actual Americans recognize the enemy.

    Lincoln threw the baby out with the bathwater; Lincoln threw out the Constitution with reprehensible slavery.

    “[We gave you] a [restricted-vote] republic, if you can keep it,” Ben Franklin.

    You couldn’t.

    The entire communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO, AINO) American welfare state is unconstitutional.

    The Supreme Court has failed to support, and has, instead, opposed and thwarted the Constitution.

    The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs, AINOs) are the direct and mortal enemies of the American thesis, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Americans and America.

    “…[K]now the enemy….”

    – Sun Tzu

    “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

    – Blaise Pascal

    “The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail.”

    – Abraham Lincoln

    “…[T]he RECONSTRUCTION of a social world.”

    – Karl Marx to Abraham Lincoln

    1. All education is local.

      The needs and concerns of children are the business of parents.

      Gender, abortion, feeding the parents’ children, etc., are the business of parents and never the purview of any level of the education industry or communist teachers unions.

      Education mission creep must be reversed and terminated.

  6. Now New York is considering banning gas cooking stoves in new home construction. I’m sure the state of New York is planning on building new electric power generating plants to supply the amount of new energy that will be needed. Or do we make social justice trades. If you accept transgendered people then you can have gas appliances. Social justice horse trading.

    1. Independent – think of it this way. The Left, the party currently in charge, is Russia, which in the US exists primarily along the coasts and in a few big cities in the heartland (e.g., Chicago). We people in between are Ukraine. Just like with Zelensy, our bodyguard (Trump) is in their crosshairs. Metaphorical Russia (the Dem party) has invaded us and they are waging all-out war against our very existence.

      Exhibit A is the opening of the border so that we in the middle are swamped with illegal immigrants and all the drugs, sex trafficking and other crimes that go with it (not to mention the dozens of people on the terrorist watch list who are now in the country).

      Once you realize that’s what’s happening, all these ridiculous measures like banning gas stoves are easily understood as their version of sending cruise missiles into our cities to kill us. New York and Cali are experimenting with these measures just as the Russians first tested their missile technology before using it in an actual war. We have to shoot these “progressive” initiatives down just as emphatically as we would physically shoot down cruise missiles sent to destroy us – because that in essence is what they are. In actuality they are far from progressive (hence the quotes). They are regressive, in that they will send us back to the middle-ages in terms of quality of life (and hurt the poor the most).

      1. Old,an, doesn’t it seem that whenever you have something that gives you pleasure, they want to take it away.

        1. Independent – that is what they live for.

          In the years since Trump’s election they have crossed the rubicon into an all-out war on our existence. Everything they do should be seen in that light.

    2. I have a family member who works in the world of power generation. There are many power plants that are old and need to be updated or rebuilt. In some places, others are being shut down. Some power companies are on the margin trying to keep the lights on. Try building a new plant—the regulations are virtually insurmountable. Solar and wind are only a smaller part of the viable future. They sound good to politicians but have technical hurdles to cross to be a larger part of the picture.

      Look what is happening in California and what happened to Texas a couple of winters ago.

  7. It’s as if people already muddled by propaganda have no understanding of their own Constitution and their rights guaranteed there.

  8. I’m not so worried about the Russians or the Chinese. I worry more about us and how crazy we conduct ourselves.

  9. Well my oh my, the transgender community is now taking up the right provided by the second amendment. https://psmag.com/social-justice/the-trans-women-turning-to-firearms-for-survival. They have no problem problem with protecting their safety but they don’t want you to protect yours. I’ll be waiting to hear of when they send their support to the NRA. I’m sure that they will soon be declaring their right to concealed carry. They should not be subject to harassment but they should be stopped from cutting the penis of a ten year old boy off or removing the breasts of an adolescent girl. These actions tell us about the very core of who they are. If this is not so where are the trans people protesting the genital mutilation of children. They’re nowhere to be found.

  10. Eventually voters will realize that US politics is all tribal — the “identity” of the person you vote for will determine the policies that person tries to push when in office. Politicians like La’Tasha D. Mayes will push the trans-gay agenda, so if you voted for he/she/it, don’t be surprised when he/she/it tries to abolish free speech. The “left” can’t make a coherent argument about any of their anti-science, anti-common sense agenda, so they resort to censorship to prevent the logical and scientific ideas of conservatives from influencing students. Better to keep them in the dark, malleable, fearful and outraged.

  11. Svelaz is basically off his rocker and is speaking on something so far out of his lane and knowledge as to be nonsensical. Please present us with his credentials as a Dr of Medicine, with a specialty in neurology/psychiatry and/or a clinically psychologist . And it must be stipulated that these individuals making this judgement are not in gender affirming care. If you ask a surgeon should you get an operation, the odds are heavily favored that they will rec an operation.
    One of the keys in medical practice is following a strict ethic of indications for and against a diagnosis and also for and against a certain therapy. It is far too easy in medicine to get involved in a course of treatment and procedures that just happen to enrich you. Far too many doctors / psychiatrists / psychologists these days follow that credo and cast away objective assessments and find a way to enrich themselves. That has always been there in medicine but ethics and utilization management and evaluation of practice patterns tended to help you weed out those people.
    Unfortunately the greater and greater emphasis is on productivity (dollars per visits and whether you order enough lab and x-rays to justify keeping you) especially if you are primary care and have no procedures. It is more and more difficult for ethical practitioners to follow appropriate medical guidelines when money becomes the sole driving force. Raise questions about the drive for certain money making processes and suddenly you are out of a job.
    Restrictive covenants all now used to browbeat the Docs and keep them in line. Thats why I am coming around to the FTC outlawing restrictive covenants. They served a purpose 30-50 years ago but no longer.
    Also upcoding of visits and procedures is encouraged and suddenly the same visit or procedure is more expensive with no change in the actual delivery of care. The computerization of care was good in helping eliminate errors and access to information but it also provided an open door to upcoding when combined with the with relative value unit scores. Gaming the system because of RVU’s was no game and very lucrative.

      1. @Svelaz,

        Funny, but you don’t need to be a doctor to know that there’s an insurance/medical billing code for gender dysphoria. Actually you can go online and see the list of over 10K codes that now exist and find the ones that deal with mental illness and see which ones are sex related.

        Nor do you need to be a lawyer to know something about the ADA laws and what it means to be in a protected class.

        Now I can’t let GEB have all the fun playing w the trolls, can I?


    1. RE” GEB says….’One of the keys in medical practice ..” It is clear that evidence based medical practice is not in play here. It should also be clear, from those who read your comments, that what you bring to the table, and others of your ilk herein is, from long experience.

    2. @GEB.

      Uhm kinda sorta.
      Doctors order the massive amounts of tests because if they missed something… cue the lawyers.
      Medical malpractice is fairly bad and expensive. I had a situation where I had to see a specialist. He wanted to do a test that was a bit invasive, I said thanks but no thanks. I told his nurse that the risks outweighed the benefits and the next thing I knew I got a registered letter telling me warning me of the risks of not getting the procedure done. This was done because they were in CYA mode. That’s part of the problem. Doctors order tests that they know are not important because they have to CYA themselves.

      Now I don’t pay too much attention to Svelaz, who’s a troll w what looks to be sock puppets.

      And yes, I agree with you about some doctors wanting to pad their wallets. But the reality of modern medicine is much more complicated that you make it out to be.


  12. Latest report I heard wad that there is group of right wing extremist hunting down transgender people in new england. Ya right, in new england. Every single senator and congressman is a democrat. How doppy is that.

  13. It is time to end public funding of all Colleges and Universities. Until they are forced to compete for education dollars this nonsense will continue. They have no right to push their leftist agendas on the public dime.Educational sinecures insulate these schools from any accountability.

  14. Bill Maher: “if we follow this trajectory we will all be gay in 2054”

    Svelaz should be excited considering he has not had carnal knowledge ….ever

    1. Anonymous – this is fantastic. All 9 minutes! How has he not been cancelled?

      I never thought I’d say this but Maher is now my favorite liberal. Tied for #1 with Glenn Greenwald.

    2. As with all comedians, I do not always agree or laugh at every comment or joke, but Maher has been spot on about the insanity that has taken over the Democrat party.
      As Maher said, “I did not leave the party, the party left me.”

  15. If the standard for a speaker is “How does this protect XTZABC123?” then we are doomed. Free speech is not about protecting any particular group – it is about open discourse furthering understanding of issues. The majority has rights, too – and should not be silenced by any trendy minority.

  16. State Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes is essentially saying:

    Representatives from the trans community across the nation are reporting record levels of feeling “extremely unsafe” due to the knowledge that somewhere out there, a hockey player might not be wearing a pride jersey.

    “In order for us to feel safe, it’s essential that every person on earth agree with our opinions and openly celebrate them in public at all times,” said Trans Community Safety Liaison Bertha Glamqueen. “The knowledge that even one hockey player somewhere in the world is maybe not fully endorsing our beliefs is literal genocide.”

  17. Is it just me, or is anyone else confused when you use the term ‘alphabet community’ ?

    I always thought of the ‘alphabet community’ to be those three letter acronyms for certain government agencies that should not be named.


    1. RE: “I always thought of the ‘alphabet community’…” Necessity can be the mother of invention. Researching acronyms will reveal that there are often more than one application for the same, and not only three letters. Far easier for me to employ this convention than being obliged to memorize their ever enlarging sequence of letters. This dog will not be wagged.

      1. @ZZDoc,

        I have a lot of friends.
        One time a buddy of mine told me that he and a friend were going to take a course taught by the CIA.
        I had to do a double take. Now I do have friends who did some government work, but these friends were talking about a Chocolate course taught by the Culinary Institute of America.


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