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Wednesday, September 27, 2023
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Young Americans for Freedom postpones speech from conservative commentator

Political commentator Michael Knowles was slated to speak Tuesday

<p>Conservative commentator Michael Knowles speaks with attendees at the 2019 Teen Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA.&nbsp;</p>

Conservative commentator Michael Knowles speaks with attendees at the 2019 Teen Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA. 

The UB chapter of Young Americans for Freedom postponed a planned speech by conservative political commentator Michael Knowles, the organization’s e-board announced in an email to its members Monday.

Knowles was slated to speak Tuesday, according to an archived page of YAF’s website.

“A new date has yet to be determined, but we will keep you informed when a new date is selected,” the email read.

YAF rescheduled the speech due to “time constraints” surrounding the “need to hire security outside of the university” and “set final arrangements” with the Student Association, Connor Ogrydziak, YAF’s acting president and meme coordinator, wrote in an email to The Spectrum.

Ogrydziak did not respond to follow-up questions regarding the need for outside security in time for publication.

A native of Westchester County, NY, Knowles is well-known for authoring the 266-page satirical book, “Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide,” the majority of which was left blank.

He has served as a guest host for The Rush Limbaugh Show, a daily radio show host on The Daily Wire and a commentator on FOX News. He sparked a national conversation in September 2019 after calling Greta Thunberg a “mentally ill Swedish child” on the FOX News program, The Story.

He also gained national attention after his April 2019 speech at the University of Missouri — Kansas City, titled “Men Are Not Women,” was disrupted by protestors, one of whom sprayed him with a mixture of fluids that later turned out to be lavender oil and other non-toxic household liquids. Knowles is opposed to same-sex marriage and gender fluidity.

Knowles’ appearance was scheduled to take place just two-and-a-half weeks after a YAF-sponsored Allen West speech transformed North Campus into a political battleground. The talk brought out dozens of student protestors, who encircled the venue and marched through the halls. UB and University Police are investigating reports of harassment and online threats toward protestors.

Therese Purcell, who made allegations of harassment and assault against protestors in the aftermath of West’s speech, was listed as a “former president” in YAF’s email to its members. Ogrydziak declined to comment on matters related to Purcell or the YAF presidency.

The SA hosted Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of Martin Luther King Jr., for a speech in the Center for the Arts Tuesday evening. The talk, which was announced in an email to the student body on Saturday, featured a heavy police presence.

YAF is a conservative youth activism organization recognized as a special interest club by the SA.

The university “does not take a position on the views and opinions expressed by those who visit its campus” and “stands by its commitment to upholding its core values of diversity, inclusion and mutual respect,” according to an April 7 statement

Grant Ashley is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at

Justin Weiss is the managing editor and can be reached at  


Justin Weiss is The Spectrum's managing editor. In his free time, he can be found hiking, playing baseball or throwing things at his TV when his sports teams aren't winning. His words have appeared in Elite Sports New York and the Long Island Herald. He can be found on Twitter @Jwmlb1.



Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley. 



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