UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ)– Twelve-time NCAA All-American, five-time SEC Champion and women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines spoke on the HUB lawn on Penn State’s campus last Tuesday after she says her speaking event was canceled by the university.
Gaines and Turning Point USA attempted to schedule a venue at Penn State for the event but were told by Penn State that they had missed the 30-day prior deadline for applications. Gaines says that they submitted the application 34 days prior.
“The president has said they didn’t cancel the event but I have the receipts they certainly did,” Gaines said.
After the original attempt at getting a venue, Gaines said that they submitted for a time for the event at Alumni Hall and even submitted a down payment. Their request was also rejected by the University.
“But ultimately the University, upon finding out who was speaking, came back and said that there are competing events and with risk management we can’t host the event here anymore,” Gaines said.
In a statement, Penn State said: “No event featuring Riley Gaines has ever been canceled at Penn State.” Gaines and Turning Point USA then decided to hold a free event on the Hub Lawn last Tuesday, October 10. Gaines says that she knew the event would be greeted with pushback.
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“As I had arrived on campus, I actually watched the police arrest two individuals for disorderly conduct,” Gaines said. “They were you know pushing reporters over and flipping tables and kind of same old same old. I’m honestly used to seeing it at this point.”
Gaines has sparked controversy on several college campuses as she has traveled the U.S. since graduating from Kentucky.
“A few months back in California at San Francisco State University I mean I was hit, I was punched and I was held for ransom for four hours,” Gaines said. “So it’s certainly not surprising but again it doesn’t deter me.”
Gaines says that she was heckled while giving her speech through a megaphone, and that no one wanted to ask questions about her viewpoint. Gaines has been one of the biggest advocates for keeping transgender women out of women’s sports.
“Of course I think trans-athletes should compete, of course there is a place for them somewhere to compete,” said Gaines. “I encourage every single person to play sports because of the benefits that it gives you, but it’s about playing where it is fair and safe.”
But Gaines says that she doesn’t know exactly what the answer is for trans-athletes, and does not believe that a separate division or league is the answer.
“We saw it with the international governing body of swimming,” Gaines said. “They implemented a third category and a few weeks ago at the World Cup in Berlin, there was not a single entry.”