Brandon Addeo | News Editor
U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny) postponed a scheduled Feb. 21 talk at Duquesne shortly before it was set to start after Duquesne officials learned protestors might show up at the event.
Murphy was supposed to lecture at 2:30 p.m. in the Student Union on his Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Murphy’s office cited safety concerns as the reason for cancelling the event, after Duquesne informed his office of potential protests they had learned about through social media.
“We were disappointed to learn that Congressman Murphy’s long-planned tour of the Duquesne University Psychology Department and discussion with students … had to be cancelled today,” a spokeswoman for Murphy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Duquesne staff brought to our attention at the last minute that organizations not affiliated with the university were planning to disrupt the discussion and campus security was unable to guarantee the safety of all involved.”
Duquesne spokeswoman Bridget Fare said Duquesne “at all times … was prepared to go forward with the event and to provide security, if the congressman’s office deemed it appropriate.”
According to Fare, the university learned Monday that people not associated with Duquesne might attend the event and ask Murphy questions “unrelated to the topic” of discussion. She said Duquesne informed Murphy’s office of the possible disruption, adding that while Duquesne had not originally planned on having extra security, they would “explore getting additional police personnel” at the lecture.
On Tuesday morning at 9:34 a.m., Fare said Duquesne informed Murphy’s office they had arranged for additional Duquesne police officers to provide security at the event. The congressman’s office told university officials about two hours later they were cancelling the event.