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Former Kentucky Swimmer & ‘Real Women’s Day’ Creator Riley Gaines Condemns Penn State, Neeli Bendapudi

Former Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who is a known proponent against transgender individuals participating in female athletics, denounced Penn State and President Neeli Bendapudi Monday on Twitter following scheduling discrepancies regarding Gaines’ speech on campus planned for Tuesday.

Gaines, who was invited to speak by student organization Turning Point USA, planned to discuss “Real Women’s Day,” a social media movement created by the former swimmer to recognize biological females on October 10, or X/X in Roman numerals to denote female chromosomes.

Gaines shared a clip of Bendapudi discussing the necessity of allowing “controversial” or “actively hateful” groups to speak on campus.

“No way President of Penn State makes a whole video explaining why public institutions are legally obligated to let “bigots” apparently like me on campus to speak then proceeds to CANCEL my speech tomorrow for real women’s day (X/X),” Gaines wrote on Twitter Monday. “Have it your way. See ya tomorrow with a soapbox and megaphone, Penn State!”

According to a statement from Penn State, Gaines’ speaking event was never canceled, but instead, Turning Point USA failed to reserve a space for the event within the required deadline. Since then, the group planned for the event to take place outdoors.

“Penn State staff have been working with [Turning Point USA] to see to it that they can host a safe event under university policies and within their First Amendment rights,” the statement said.

Gaines, meanwhile, shared screenshots on Twitter Tuesday of confirmation of a reserved room in the HUB booked by non-affiliated campus group “Leadership Institute,” after Turning Point USA failed to book event space.

“When they were told the person speaking was me, suddenly there were ‘staffing demands’ and ‘other competing events,'” Gaines wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.

The event is still slated to occur, according to Gaines, but spokespeople from Turning Point USA didn’t respond to an immediate request for comment confirming Tuesday’s event.

“As an institution of higher education, Penn State encourages free and open discussion as a way to strengthen our democracy and promote critical thinking and growth, and the university has a variety of speakers on its campuses,” the statement said.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a junior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is Onward State's managing editor. She also talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese, horizontal time, and Kevin Jonas. If you'd like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @keeleylammm or send your best joke to her email [email protected].

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