Statement of Speaker Gilbert on Protests at VCU, JMU Events

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House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, issued the following statement:

“I would be remiss if I didn’t commend Virginia Commonwealth University for the way they handled last night’s disruptive protest at the Students for Life event. The expectations for those attending the event were made clear from the beginning, and when those rules were violated by protesters, campus police quickly and professionally removed them.

“Meanwhile at James Madison University, students who were opposed to a speaker’s beliefs protested outside an event. Inside the venue, the speaker had thoughtful and productive exchanges with those who supported and opposed her ideas.

“It is my sincere hope that the leadership of VCU will work to inculcate a respect for freedom of speech as the leadership of JMU appears to have successfully done. When we are confronted with different ideas and engage with them, we grow as individuals. The next generation of Virginians deserves the opportunity to do just that.”