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Controversial speaker Riley Gaines expected to spark counter-protests at UC Davis


By Brady Halbleib

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    DAVIS, California (KOVR) — A controversial speaker is set to take the stage at the University of California, Davis on Friday, sparking outrage among some students and campus groups.

Riley Gaines, a former collegiate athlete known for her outspoken views against trans-women in sports, is preparing to debate the topic, while others are planning to protest.

Bianca Tomat, a student at UC Davis, is among many students aware of Gaines’ controversial reputation, largely based on her comments on social media.

“I thought it was very interesting to bring her here because you know it’s going to spark some reaction,” Tomat said.

Gaines is not new to backlash for her public comments. She was recently escorted by the police after speaking about gender issues in sports at San Francisco State University.

A former collegiate swimmer, Gaines has been a vocal critic of allowing transgender athletes to participate in college sports, and on Friday, she’s expected to discuss similar issues.

Bianca Tomat voiced her concern, saying, “She already made a whole video about how it’s going to spark controversy. If she already knows that, I don’t know if she should just come out and put herself in that position.”

It’s important to note that the event is being hosted by a student-run organization, the Davis College Republicans, and not the university itself.

However, the event will take place on the UC Davis campus, which has raised concerns among various organizations planning a counter-protest. They claim that Gaines is transphobic and offensive.

A statement from UC Davis reads:

“We are committed to ensuring that all members of our community, including transgender and nonbinary people, are treated with dignity and respect on campus and are able to flourish.

As a public university, UC Davis is dedicated to the First Amendment and the pursuit of knowledge through the free, open and non-violent exchange of ideas.

This is a student-sponsored event. Students, staff and faculty all enjoy the right to free speech, as do visitors invited to speak on campus by registered student organizations and university departments. This is true even when speakers may present offensive or hateful ideas.

We respect the right of our students to invite speakers to our campus, just as we respect the right of others to peacefully protest those whose views they find offensive. Allowing the use of campus facilities does not constitute an endorsement by the university of the event, the speakers or the views expressed.”

The event is set to be held at 7 p.m. at the UC Davis Ballroom.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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