On Wednesday, April 24, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was seen on campus attempting to enter the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. It is unconfirmed how he accessed campus.

Gavin McInnes, the founder of the Proud Boys, a militant group with connections to the January 6 insurrection, was seen on Columbia’s campus around 3 pm on Wednesday, April 24. 

The Proud Boys is an all-male, far-right militant organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Some members, including the former national chairman of the organization, were also connected and sentenced in relation to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. According to the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), the Proud Boys self-describe as “‘Western chauvinists’ who romanticize a traditional, male-dominated version of Western culture.” 

McInness was first spotted around 3 pm, reportedly approaching students with some form of audio recording device. McInnes then tried to reach the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on the west side of Butler Lawn but was denied entry by the Encampment’s security team. 

Columbia has exclusively allowed campus access to CUID holders for over a week, strengthening security after the arrests on Columbia’s campus last Thursday. McInnes was on campus as Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and other Republican congressional representatives prepared to hold a press conference on Low Steps and as CUAD representatives held one in front of Butler. It is unclear how McInnes gained entry. 

McInnes’ presence came one day before other right-wing figures intend to host a pro-Israel demonstration entitled “United for Israel” at Columbia’s campus. It is not confirmed whether the appearances are connected.

Bwog contacted Public Safety by phone to inquire about McInnes’ presence on campus. An officer responded that he was not aware of McInnes being at Columbia and did not know how he gained access but that it “concerns” Public Safety. Bwog has also contacted Public Safety and University communications via email, still awaiting response. 

This is a developing story. 

McInnes via Bwog Staff