Daily Wire host Michael Knowles was at the University of Pittsburgh for an event when an incendiary device went off.
An evening debate, featuring Michael Knowles, on transgenderism at the University of Pittsburgh turned chaotic on Tuesday when an “incendiary device” went off outside the O’Hara Student Center, during protests University of Pittsburgh police said.
The event, called “Should transgenderism be regulated by law?” and hosted by Pitt College Republicans, was sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and featured Daily Wire host Michael Knowles and libertarian journalist Brad Polumbo.
Knowles, who has previously drawn criticism for his comments on transgenderism, received backlash during the event, with more than 250 protesters chanting and carrying signs that read “Trans Rights are Human Rights” and “Trans Power.”
As tensions rose, Pitt police sent out an emergency notification alert, and medics were called to the area as a precaution. According to The Pitt News, the device was a “combination of a firework and a smoke bomb,” and there were no reported injuries.
“Several campus buildings in the vicinity of O’Hara Street will be closing early this evening. Residence Halls are accessible with proper identification,” Pitt police tweeted at 8:18 p.m. At 8:31 p.m., the university sent out a notification that several buildings, including Thaw Hall, Old Engineering Hall, Gardner Steel Center, Benedum Hall, University Club, Allen Hall, and Space Resource Coordination Center, were closed.
The situation continued to escalate as protesters refused to leave, prompting Pittsburgh police to order people to go home. At 9:39 p.m., the university sent out a notification that Nordenberg Hall and the William Pitt Union were locked down.
Knowles appeared to leave the event in an SUV around 9 p.m. and later joked about the protests during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee, saying, “That sounds like they’ve gotten into harmony. It’s not even melody anymore. I guess there was an opening act.”
The incident highlights the deeply divisive issue of transgender rights and the need for respectful and constructive dialogue on the subject. “Trans rights are human rights,” the protesters chanted, reflecting a growing movement to increase awareness and advocacy for the transgender community.
In a statement, Pitt College Republicans expressed regret over the incident, saying, “We are disappointed that the event was disrupted and had to be cut short due to the actions of a few individuals. We fully support free speech and peaceful assembly, and we will continue to host events that promote dialogue and debate on important issues.”