Public Media for Central Pennsylvania
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Penn State looking into visitors code of conduct, in wake of canceling Proud Boys founder's appearance

Gavin McInnes with a microphone at a rally outside surrounded by people in Berkeley, California.
Marcio Jose Sanchez
In this file photo, Gavin McInnes speaks at a rally for free speech Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. Penn State ended up canceling an appearance by McInnes at the last minute on Oct. 24 when protests got heated.

Penn State is looking into creating a code of conduct for visitors after an October appearance by Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes led to demonstrations, counter-demonstrations and the event getting canceled.

Penn State Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Justin Schwartz told the Faculty Senate this week that he had been thinking about the situation in the aftermath of the event. He said the university has a code of conduct for students and expectations for faculty and staff.

“But for visitors on campus we simply have essentially an open door policy," he said, adding there is no statement of expectations or repercussions for visitors who behave in a way that is not consistent with Penn State values, but who do not cross the line to where legal action could be taken.

Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and right-wing performer Alex Stein were scheduled to appear at Penn State Oct. 24. The university ended up canceling the event after protests and counter-protests escalated and someone released pepper spray into the crowd. At one point, Stein recorded himself provoking the protestors.

Schwartz said a task force will be charged with coming up with the code and how it could be shared with visitors and enforced.

“The idea being we would have a clear articulation of what we as a university expect in terms of behavior of any visitor that comes to campus," he said.

Schwartz said he would like to see the language be something that could be added to contracts when visitors have them.

“We certainly don’t hope to have to ever enforce it," he said. "But I think it would be appropriate for a university of our scale that has such complexity in terms of the types of visitors we have and the attractiveness that we have to a variety of visitors to have something in place that really does articulate what we think is important, what our values are and what our expectations are for anyone that comes to our campus.”

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.
Related Content