Political commentator Steven Crowder filmed a new segment of his “Change My Mind” series at Texas Christian University on Friday. Intense passion was expressed by students as they discussed the legitimacy of male privilege with Crowder, who sat behind a table with two chairs and a sign that read “Male Privilege is a Myth; Change My Mind.” Crowder drew large crowds during his time on campus, ranging from high schoolers, to faculty, and everyone in between.
Crowder told the Freedom Frog that the whole purpose of his videos, which often exceed one million views on YouTube, “is to provide a different point of view on a controversial issue that’s often just accepted as a premise by default on campuses.”
As word spread that the host of Louder with Crowder was coming to TCU, fans were some of the first students to greet him. Austin Horton of College Republicans told the FF that “Crowder was one of the most personable celebrities I have ever met. He never insulted anyone’s point of view, but instead asked pointed questions to try and get to the root of their true beliefs.”
There were others in the audience who were not as fond of Crowder’s approach to discussing gender. Nina Martin, an Associate Dance Professor in the College of Fine Arts, said she would not allow this form of discussion in her classroom because “it’s not good dialog”, Yet Martin agreed that, “it’s a conversation that needs to happen, especially at TCU.”
Chip, a passing student said, “part of male privilege is being able to sit there (and debate). If it was a feminist sitting out there saying, ‘let’s have a discussion,’ guys would just be like no, this is ridiculous”.
One senior student, Gregory Beau, walked straight from his Contemporary Social Movements class to sit with Crowder, debating the issue for over a half hour. Beau said, “I like his core message,” referring to Crowder’s “Change My Mind” series, but said, “he’s not going to have his mind changed. He literally is only a provocateur.” Beau added that it was, “embarrassing,” to have campus tours see him at TCU.
Beau also touched on his view of President Donald Trump’s effect on our society.
“What Trump has done is make people with (Crowder’s) views feel more comfortable in society.” Gregory was quick to note that this is both good and bad. Good because he reasoned that, “now it’s in the light,” but bad because it, “makes them seem more legitimate.”
Relating Crowder’s appearance with the Trump phenomenon, Beau continued, “I bet (Crowder’s) views mirror the President’s. If you share views with the most powerful man in the world you feel more comfortable walking around; you don’t feel like you’re going to get jumped. Imagine if this guy went to Berkeley?”
In response to Berkeley, Gregory was asked if he felt people like Crowder should even be allowed on campus to begin with, he said “100 percent.” Gregory elaborate that he, “liked that conservatives are speaking up and not staying in the quiet about these issues.”
Beau also referenced similar controversial events in recent years. “YAF has silenced Democrats” at past events, and that he, “would love if there was some system of accountability where TCU administration gets involved and makes sure it’s not just a breeding ground (for conservatives).” When finally asked if he believed if College Republicans were a bad influence on campus, Gregory responded, “I don’t think their existence is, but in practice they are.”
Emily Collins, a TCU student who has been involved in these conservative events, felt quite differently about the effect of conservative groups on campus.
“It frustrates me that the majority of those who didn’t agree with Crowder chose to be hostile, rather than take the opportunity to engage with him,” said Collins. “It was shocking to hear there was more concern about the poster than the attempts made to shut down the meaningful conversations being had behind the table.”
The opposition became evident as professors from the Women and Gender Studies program gathered by the event, not to join, but to have a separate discussion.
— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) February 16, 2018
Steven Crowder discussed his reception on campus with the Freedom Frog, saying he was surprised to have a student come in, “hot and ready, and looking for a fight,” adding, “that isn’t what it’s really about.” Even as Crowder was done for the day, many students stayed to continue the discussion.
“It was really cool to see (students) have a conversation after I left,” Crowder explained as he observed the continued debate from a distance. Following the event, Crowder bought some students Girl Scout cookies to thank them for coming out for the discussion.
When asked what he thought about being considered a “provocateur,” Crowder told the Freedom Frog, “You could watch hours of footage of ‘Change My Mind’, which no one else in media really has ever done right or left. The whole concept is something that’s so organic and unedited just to show that it can be done. There was nothing designed today to be offensive, you’re dealing with controversial issues.”
The video documenting Crowder’s time on campus can be found below.