Social scientist Charles Murray, a man classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist, will speak at Duke University tonight.
According to The Chronicle, Murray is expected to speak about his 2012 book Coming Apart: The State of White America, in an event cosponsored by the Duke College Republicans and the Duke contingent of the American Enterprise Institute, where Murray is the W. H. Brady Scholar.
The discussion begins at six p.m. at the Doris Duke Center, 420 Anderson Street.
The “secure location” was chosen after protests erupted during an appearance by Murray earlier this month at Vermont’s Middlebury College, The Chronicle reports. The topic for tonight’s discussion seems similar to the one at Middlebury, where after about twenty minutes of chanting, Murray was taken to another room to live-stream his remarks. When he tried to leave, protesters reportedly jumped on his car.
Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs at Duke, told the university newspaper that, as a safety measure, the event would be ticketed and attended by campus police.
Murray is slated to discuss Coming Apart, about the growing divide between upper- and lower-class whites in America, and how that phenomenon relates to the 2016 election. He is best known, however, for the 1994 work, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life on how IQ differences, which Murray and coauthor Richard Herrnstein say are lower among blacks, are to blame for social and economic inequality.
Some people would call that eugenics. Murray argues that the racial aspects of the book were overblown and that both genetics and environment influence how a person fares in life. (The book has been criticized for basing these assertions on findings made by racist institutions).
Murray often denies on his Twitter feed that he espouses white supremacy. ✖i
Tonight’s discussion comes as Duke is already dealing with its associations with two white nationalists, alumni Stephen Miller, a White House adviser who was instrumental in the botched rollout of President Trump’s travel ban, and Richard Spencer, credited with coining the term “alt-right” and famously punched in the face on camera. (On the other hand, more than thirty-four hundred Duke alumni have penned an open letter to Miller asking how he became a terrible person, so there’s that.)
Murray has spoken at Duke before. In 2013, students who appeared to be attending his talk at the university’s School of Public Policy staged a walkout, leaving Murray in a nearly empty auditorium.
We’ll see what happens tonight.