Virginia Commonwealth University’s president, Michael Rao, on Saturday criticized the disruption of a speech at VCU last week by antiabortion activists.
“As our nation’s Constitution protects the free speech of all, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with what is being said, it is essential that everyone treat everyone else with respect and civility,” Rao said.
VCU police charged two protesters. “One protester was charged with simple assault and the other with disorderly conduct. Neither individual was a VCU student nor had any connection to the university,” Rao said.
According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, the first 30 minutes of the speech by Kristan Hawkins, an antiabortion activist, were disrupted by yelling. Then the police arrived, fighting broke out and the event was shut down.
Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert, a Republican, called the incident “another sad episode of free speech being shouted down on college campuses across our nation.”