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Davis, California

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Protest arises in response to Riley Gaines on-campus speaker event on Nov. 3

The UC Davis Police Department reported instances of assault and vandalism at the protest outside of the event


By RIVERS STOUT — campus@theaggie.org


On Nov. 3, Riley Gaines spoke at the UC Davis Conference Center. She was invited by the Davis College Republicans (DCR) to speak on women’s participation in sports.

After DCR announced the speaker event, a call to action began to spread on campus.

“Transphobia is not welcome in Davis…,” both posters found on campus and posts made online read. “We will not stand for that bullshit… Be ready to make noise.”

The poster read that there would be a protest on the Vanderhoef Quad at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 3, an hour and a half before the speaker event would take place.

Around 100 protesters went across the field from the event to protest. The organizers and participants brought banners, masks, umbrellas and strobe lights.

“I was actually very impressed by the organization of the protest [and] I very much respect and thank the people who helped organize it,” a source who asked to remain anonymous said. “They made sure we knew our rights and that we knew the rules as protesters and they kept us safe. I think that was very kind of them, honestly, because good organization is what makes a good protest, what makes it effective and it’s what makes the rest of us feel secure.”

Also outside of the event, Jeff Boone and Anita Boone, CEO and Office Manager of the non-profit California Statewide CDC, discussed their support of Gaines and her support towards women’s rights.

“I feel it’s very important to allow both sides to speak, and that’s being shut down all over the country,” A. Boone said. “It seems like the Republican voice is just getting shut down no matter what issue they’re talking about. And, I too, want to protect women’s rights.”

When asked if the issue being covered that night was on transgender people, A. Boone declined and stated it was on the issue of “Women competing in sports against biological men.”

“She’s definitely speaking pro-women, I’ve only heard her say she doesn’t want to compete with biological men,” A. Boone said. “That has nothing to do with being transgender.”

Protestors discussed their objections to the event.

“A lot of TERFs [transgender exclusion radical feminist], which is what Riley Gaines is… like to cry about how they’re not transphobic, they’re pro-women,” the same anonymous source said. “If you don’t include trans women then congratulations you’re a fucking transphobe.”

In addition to the discourse regarding Riley Gaines, the protesters also spoke against Chancellor Gary May’s permission for the event to happen in the first place.

“It’s a bigger issue than simply one person,” the anonymous source said. “The reason I think it circulated to be about Chancellor May is that he allowed [Gaines] to be on campus and has allowed many Republican speakers to be on campus and has allowed this kind of bigotry to spread and say that’s in the name of appreciating both sides… No, that’s not an opinion, that’s a value and you’re a bigot.”

The UC Davis Police Department and private security organizations guarded the venue which was also surrounded by a barricade.

According to a statement by UC Davis News and Media Relations, by the end of the protest, two accounts of assault had been reported.

“No one requested medical attention,” the statement read. “Police also fielded a separate report of vandalism. Protesters broke the glass on doors and a window on a campus building a short distance from the event. Graffiti was painted on one building and Egghead statues. No one was arrested.”

Written by: Rivers Stout – campus@theaggie.org


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