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Feminist gamer won’t speak at Utah schools until guns prohibited

Posted at 9:51 PM, Oct 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-16 12:21:40-04

LOGAN, Utah -- Anita Sarkeesian, a popular online video game critic and outspoken feminist, is outraged at the way the Utah State University handled terroristic-type threats that were made against her if she spoke at the university this week.

Wednesday, Sarkeesian spoke to FOX 13 News after death threats and Utah's laws regarding guns on campus prompted her to cancel an appearance at Utah State University.

Sarkeesian expressed her frustration with the school.

“I have had threats at other events, and each time that happens I take it very seriously and usually the location I’m speaking at takes it very seriously," she said. "So, this was the first time I had ever declined to do an event."

The feminist writer was scheduled to give a discussion on how women are portrayed in video games Wednesday. But Monday evening, someone sent an email to the school, threatening “a Montreal massacre style attack” if Sarkeesian did not cancel.

“I thought it was pretty reasonable to ask for a metal detector or pat down to ensure that there would be no firearms in the auditorium,” Sarkeesian said.

However, Sarkeesian said Utah State University’s response was minimal and maintains the school didn’t even tell her about the threat, Tweeting that she found out about the threat from social media after arriving in Utah.

While USU was working with local law enforcement to increase police presence at the event, they could not guarantee guests wouldn’t bring in a firearm. Due to state law, school officials said they had to allow people with concealed carry permits to exercise their right to carry.

“Not being able to do something about that, or take precautionary measures, in terms of preventing firearms in the lecture hall, is completely outrageous,” Sarkeesian said. “This was direct, specific, credible threats that were specifically stating the types of weapons that they would use about a mass shooting.”

According to Salt Lake City defense attorney Greg Skordas, the university would have been within their legal rights to restrict firearms to the specific location, given the threats.

"I don't think anyone can read state law to say that a person can carry a firearm on a university campus at all times, for any reason,” explained Skordas. “There are certainly some exceptions to that, and this case seemed to have some basis for people to consider those exceptions."

USU Spokesman Tim Vitale said the school believes it was following the state code; however, it will review the law, again.

Vitale contends they did everything within their authority to ensure the safety of Sarkeesian, as well as students and staff.

Related stories:

USU students rally to support feminist who canceled speech in face of security concerns

FBI investigating terror threat against Utah college, feminist writer