As of 2023, Furman University holds the position of 5th most politically active campus in the nation according to The Princeton Review. On February 2nd, Furman students demonstrated that the University is worthy of that position by quickly organizing student-led protests and other political demonstrations in preparation for Tocqueville speaker Scott Yenor.
On February 2nd, Scott Yenor spoke at Furman University for a CLP (Cultural Life Program) sponsored by the Tocqueville Program, a community "devoted to seeking the truth about the moral and philosophical questions at the heart of political life." Scott Yenor is a political science professor at Boise State University who gave a speech on his reflection of Dostoyevsky's literary works. Throughout the CLP, he discussed morality and its relation to the existence of God and other philisophical concepts within the context of Dostoyevsky's works, such as "Crime and Punishment."
Political organizations, such as the Furman University Democratic Socialists, and other individual Furman students, organized a protest in response Scott Yenor's arrival at Furman. Roughly 60 students gathered within the Trone Student Center, with approximately 20 of those students standing outside due to overflow within the building. Most of them held signs that depicted Scott Yenor's past quotes, including "Title IX is once again coming for your genuine civil liberties" and others that expressed Yenor's general opinion about women and diversity. Yenor has expressed ideas in the past that include the promotion of women fulfilling the traditional role of being a "domestic housewife" and other that women who are receiving an education at universities are "meddlesome."
Furman student Katy Watkins '26 claimed that she "doesn't protest for fun" and that she was at the protest because she stands against Yenor's belief that "women shouldn't be in STEM." Other students described their frustrations at Yenor but also at the CLP event itself, with Will Sander '26 stating that he believed it was clear that "Scott Yenor is a misogynist and a homophobe" and that Furman "should not endorse this hate speech, paying and making the time for him to be here."
Certain organizers of the event expressed their opinions as well, with Savannah Laminer (Manager of student events in the politics department) stating that she has done online research about Yenor and that the best thing you should do in life is "listen and seek to understand others." She also stated that she encourages others to do more research before jumping to conclusions.
Most of the student protestors stated that their sentiments were centralized in their opposition to two things: Scott Yenor's past political statements and Furman's apparent endorsement of him speaking at Furman University by making the event a CLP. Certain students who attended the CLP did not take any political stance, with sophomore student Bendor Shallow '25 stating that he "just needed a CLP credit."