Dr. Charles Murray will speak at CU Boulder this Thursday. He will discuss how his book, Coming Apart, relates to the current U.S. political situation.
Murray is a libertarian political scientist and scholar who has published numerous books and articles. His most controversial work, The Bell Curve, was heavily criticized due to the argument that IQ differences between the races are genetic. The book’s claims were rebutted by numerous groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Murray will be hosted by the American Enterprise Institute and the Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy. Murray has been a scholar with AEI, a public policy conservative think tank based in Washington D.C., since 1990.
Robert Pasnau, director of the Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy, described Murray as “one of the most prominent conservative voices in the country.” He said that is was important for students to be exposed to his views so that, even if they disagree, they are informed about conservative beliefs and able to refute them accurately.
When invited to speak at other universities, Murray has drawn protests. In March, he was prevented from speaking at Middlebury College in Vermont by student protestors, who disrupted the event and injured a faculty member. Several weeks ago, in early October, Murray spoke at the University of Michigan. There, student groups threatened to shut his talk down and the student government released a statement condemning the visit.
Despite recent controversies, Charles Smith, member of CU’s AEI chapter, said that he is not worried about similar protests occurring at CU. Smith said that he believes students will understand that Murray is coming “to have a constructive dialogue about the American class system.”
There will, however, be tight security at the event, set to be held in the Chem 140 lecture hall. According to a member of the university’s Student Organization Allocation Committee, the committee approved a security funding request from CU’s AEI chapter that used all of AEI’s security budget for the year.
Pasnau said that he hoped CU would not have the same issues as Middlebury. He said that he supports students protesting the talk if they choose to do so, but that attempts to prevent Murray from speaking would reflect badly on the school.
Currently, there is no information about plans to protest the event. The Boulder chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice said they had no plans to protest, but released a statement condemning the event.
“[We] are against both Charles Murray coming to speak as well as all speakers who are brought in to stoke racism using racist pseudoscience or virulent pop culture. Murray, like Yiannopoulos before him, offers nothing of substance to the national discourse other than racial discrimination,” the statement reads.
The event is RSVP-only, and as of Monday about 40 percent of the seats had been reserved. The lecture will focus on Murray’s 2012 book Coming Apart, which discusses the divisions in the American class system. The time will be split equally between the talk and a Q&A session for students to have a dialogue about the issue.
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