IU brings in security reinforcements for speaker, protesters

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A controversial speaker leads to a massive security increase in Bloomington.

Charles Murray is a social scientist criticized as being racist. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies his ideology as White Nationalist.

Critics say Murray uses pseudoscience to link intelligence to race in the 1994 book "The Bell Curve" that he co-authored with Richard Herrnstein. They also question Murray's argument that men are better at abstract thinking than women.

Despite letters and petitions from students and faculty calling for IU to cancel author and libertarian Charles Murray’s visit and lecture, the university didn’t.

Instead, they opted to bring in IU police and state troopers to make sure protests against Murray didn’t get out of hand.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said IU graduate student Abby Ang.

Abby Ang and a few hundred other IU students, faculty and Bloomington residents showed up to protest Murray’s lecture.

Baricades, private security and dozens of state and local officers separated them from Murray.

For three hours, no one besides students with classes inside Franklin Hall and those with tickets to the event were allowed in. Even then, bags had to be searched.

“We think that the way the university has been handling this event has been pretty poor, starting with the police presence,” said Ang.

Murray has faced similar crowds at other campuses.

Tension has been building at IU for days now, with one student burning a free ticket she claimed for the event.

Critics of Murray say in books and interviews, he’s espoused discriminatory and misogynist views.

“We felt that it was kind of irresponsible as scholars to have somebody whose studies have been used for racist things,” said Ang.

The crowd of protesters starting gathering about an hour before Charles Murray even started speaking. From inside, the audience can hear the chants, the music, everything over his voice throughout the speech.

“I’m not surprised with the protests,” said IU sophomore Reagan Kurk. “I wish that it had not been so disruptive.”

Reagan Kurk wishes more of the students interrupting the speech from outside, had come in to hear what Murray had to say.

“I think it’s great for people to disagree and engage in some way in promoting dialogue,” said Kurk. “I just worry that we’re not able to produce the right kind of dialogue with the protests we’ve seen today.”

Ang and many others, though, say they already know enough to believe IU leaders didn’t land on the right side of the balancing act between freedom of speech and preventing discrimination.

“There are a lot of vulnerable communities on campus who feel quite concerned, especially in this political climate, that this is kind of sending the message, even unintentionally, that they are legitimizing his viewpoints,” said Ang.

Murray’s visit was sponsored by a student chapter of the American Enterprise Institute, not the university.

At tonight's lecture, everyone affiliated with the group declined to talk to FOX59 on camera.