A prominent conservative intellectual and critic of identity politics has been disinvited from a scheduled lecture at Virginia Tech over concerns about his race-related scholarship.
Jason Riley, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a Wall Street Journal columnist, was slated to speak at a lecture series hosted by the university’s business school, the BB&T Distinguished Lecture. But Virginia Tech higher-ups worried his controversial opinions would cause a scene.
“Mr. Riley, who is black, has attracted some negative attention since his publication in 2014 of Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed,” wrote National Association of Scholars President Peter Wood in the pages of National Review, which broke the story.
According to a memo obtained by Mr. Wood, the head of the Virginia Tech Finance Department, Professor Vijay Singal, vetoed the speaking arrangement. He worried the campus was still recovering from the last BB&T Distinguished Lecture, which was delivered by Charles Murray on March 25.
“The head of the finance department had not initially objected to Riley as the next BB&T speaker but later, when he realized that Riley had ‘written about race issues’ in the Wall Street Journal, he decided Riley would have to go,” Mr. Wood reported.
Mr. Riley joins a growing list of pundits, intellectuals and statesmen who have been disinvited from speaking at universities for holding controversial political beliefs.
Columnist George Will in 2014 was disinvited from speaking at Scripps College, after he questioned the purported campus rape epidemic; a speech from former New York City Police commissioner Ray Kelly at Brown University was cancelled in 2013 after protesters at the event would not yield the floor; and Ayaan Hirsi Ali was disinvited from delivering the 2014 commencement address at Brandeis University because of her criticisms of Islam.