Hampshire College cancels speech by advocate for guns on campuses

Okafor says it's sad that free speech and gun rights are hated at a U.S. college

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) — Hampshire College canceled a controversial gun rights speaker Tuesday night.

Self proclaimed campus carry activist Antonia Okafor spoke at Mount Holyoke College Thursday night, one night after Hampshire College canceled her appearance.

“The event was approved, and canceled two hours before the event, so that shouldn’t have happened,” Okafor told 22News.

Hampshire College Senior Rahim Hirani scheduled gun rights activist Antonia Okafor to speak for a club on the Amherst campus.

Hampshire College canceled her Wednesday night appearance, so Hirani attended her discussion at Mount Holyoke College Thursday night.

“A liberal arts education I think it is very important to have other point of view,” said Hirani. “The reason that they gave that the paper work wasn’t done correctly I’m kind of sketchy about that, but I appreciate that Hampshire College is taking initiative again inviting her.”

The college apologized Wednesday for the cancellation, saying it was not because of the speaker or the discussions content. The college said they did not “follow their own procedures in sufficiently reviewing the application before approval.”

Director of Media Relations John Courtmanche told 22News the application was missing a contract with the speaker, a school requirement, and the school needed more time to plan for security.

Okafor started tweeting the hashtag #hampshirehatesfreedom after the cancelation.

While some students traveled to Mount Holyoke for Thursday’s speech, some Mount Holyoke students planned an alternative event for those who did not wish to attend Okafor’s engagement.

There are other things we thought were missing from the rhetoric on Antonia Akafor’s website and her social media, and the language the young republicans used,” said Marissa Patterson of the Mount Holyoke Climate Justice Coalition. “We wanted to create a space that included those conversations.”

Okafor acknowledged in her speech the school did call her to apologize. The school said they do hope to reschedule the event.

Hampshire College did not allow 22News on its campus.