Updated: October 5, 2019 at 9:28 a.m.
A conservative author and talk-show host discussed the left-wing activism and the Colonials nickname referendum at the Marvin Center Wednesday.
Michael Knowles, a right-wing political commentator who sparked controversy last month after calling Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg “mentally ill,” discussed the movement to change GW’s moniker and the impacts of “liberal miseducation” on college campuses. About 130 people attended the speech, which was hosted by the GW chapter of the Young America’s Foundation and briefly interrupted by student protesters.
Knowles was interrupted roughly 15 minutes into the speech by protesters chanting “Fuck you, you fucking fascist” and “shame,” prompting two GWPD officers to escort the students out.
Knowles said people like the protesters were emblematic of the students who disapproved of the Colonials mascot and a symptom of poor education in universities nationwide.
“They attack the colonials for occupying land previously inhabited by Native Americans,” he said. “We all occupy that same land today, why don’t any of us leave, why don’t any of them leave? They’re the ones who are making this claim. Why don’t those people pick up and move back to their ancestral homes?”
Students approved a ballot measure earlier this year urging officials to change GW’s moniker, with 54 percent of students voting in favor of the move. The GW chapters of YAF and College Republicans both released statements opposing the measure, arguing that the referendum divided the community and that a new nickname would not correct historical injustices.
Knowles characterized the protesters as “entitled, ignorant history erasers” who lacked credibility and authority, adding that they should aim to mimic the actions of the Founding Fathers instead of voicing their displeasure at the event.
“If they quieted their uninformed yaps and instead performed even some small fraction of the great deeds of those great men, they and all the rest of us would be better off,” he said.
Knowles said it is “ironic” that students are attacking the Colonial mascot but not commenting on the namesake of the University, George Washington, who himself was a wealthy slave owner.
“They don’t want to mess up their resumes because even they – and they don’t have a whole lot going on – even they realize, ‘Wait a second, if I convince everybody in the country that George Washington is Hitler, and I go to a job interview, and my only resume line is ‘George Washington University,’ that’s not going to look great,” he said.
Knowles said members of the audience should consume left-wing media to better understand and “fight” against the ideology. He said students should stay true to their beliefs even if they lose their friends, grades and jobs so long as it allows them to “go to sleep with a huge grin.”
“I applaud all of you,” Knowles said. “I’m so glad we can speak the truth even in the face of shrieking, heckling, yelling, angry leftists.”