Conservative scholar Charles Murray, known for his work arguing lower IQ scores of racially diverse Americans were linked to their genetics, will be speaking at the University of Colorado on Thursday night.
Murray, who was invited by the student-led CU chapter of the American Enterprise Institute, will be speaking about his 2012 New York Times bestseller "Coming Apart," described as "a commentary on the formation of the American class system" on the CU event page.
The event was first reported on by the student news source, the CU Independent.
The talk, followed by a question-and-answer session, begins at 7 p.m. on campus in Chemistry 140.
People interested in attending the talk must RSVP online through the event page.
The Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy — a campus initiative intended to bring conservative thought and discussion onto the left-leaning CU campus — is helping organize the event.
"Charles Murray is clearly one of the leading voices today in this conservative movement," said Robert Pasnau, director for the Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy. "That makes him important for the CU community to get the opportunity to hear his voice."
Charles Smith, CU sophomore and chair of the Boulder campus' AEI executive council, said students started reaching out to AEI scholar Murray since the summer to get him to speak on campus.
"Dr. Murray has been a huge proponent of free speech and allowing students to share competition of ideas," Smith said. "He's a really good scholar for AEI to send out to campus because he's willing to do so."
There were no speaking fees involved in bringing Murray to campus, but Smith declined to say how much money AEI spent on security for the speech.
"I know, but I won't be able to disclose that information," Smith said.
The CU Student Organization Allocation Committee approved $2,000 for AEI to spend on the event, which would go toward security, marketing and other costs associated with the event, according to CU spokesman Ryan Huff.
Conditions of entry and attendance listed on the university event page include rules warning participants to be prepared for "airport-like screening, if deemed necessary." There could be refusal of entry or ejection for intoxicated or disruptive attendees, warning of arrest and prosecution for those violating event rules and prohibition of items including large bags, sticks, poles, bats, signs, bikes, alcohol and more.
Because Murray's appearances on college campuses have spurred protests in the past — dozens of students were disciplined for shutting down his speech at Middlebury College in Vermont in May — Smith recognized that security was important but that Murray would not be talking about his past controversies regarding race and IQ.
"I encourage any student who feels uncomfortable to come listen and join in the dialogue," Smith said. "He is extremely inclusive and welcomes all people to listen to his opinion and will answer any questions in an extremely amicable way for anybody who asks them."
Pasnau seconded this assertion.
"I think it's important that the students who are most opposed to his view come and listen to what he has to say, take careful notes and figure out how to refute the guy," he said. "He is an important figure today in American politics, and people need to understand his views."
Chancellor Phil DiStefano was unavailable Wednesday to respond to a request for comment on Murray's presence on campus.
Instead, Huff pointed to DiStefano's comments about free speech in his State of the Campus address earlier in the month.
"We often have the opportunity to host events and speakers and we support free speech," DiStefano said during the speech. "We believe everyone should be allowed to express their beliefs, even when we strongly disagree with them. It's part of what we do every day — encourage open and civil debate. What we can, and should do, is clearly proclaim our values whether they do, or do not, align with those speakers."
Elizabeth Hernandez: 303-473-1106, firstname.lastname@example.org