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Protests held at Boise State after professor says at conference that men, not women, should be recruited into fields like medicine and law

By Jenn Selva and Amy Simonson, CNN

Hundreds of protestors demonstrated at Boise State University in Idaho over the weekend following comments made at a conference by a professor who said men should be prioritized for fields of study such as engineering, medicine and law.

BSU political science professor Scott Yenor made disparaging remarks about women and spoke critically of feminism at the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Florida, on October 31 in a speech titled “The Family Form that Nations Need.”

“Every effort made must be made not to recruit women into engineering, but rather to recruit and demand more of men who become engineers,” Yenor said. “Ditto for med school, and the law, and every trade.”

CNN has reached out to Yenor for comment but has not heard back.

In response to the attention the video received recently on social media, Yenor said on Twitter that “making special efforts to recruit women into fields where they don’t seem to want to be” should be stopped, and he denied wanting to prevent women from obtaining those professions.

He also posted a video in which he said the country should “elevate the importance of family life for both men and women in America.”

Boise State issued a statement saying it doesn’t endorse Yenor’s comments yet “cannot infringe” on his ability to make them.

“Boise State University understands that the open exchange of ideas, which is fundamental to education, can introduce uncomfortable and even offensive ideas,” the statement said. “However, the university cannot infringe upon the First Amendment rights of anyone in our community, regardless of whether we, as individual leaders, agree or disagree with the message. No single faculty member defines what Boise State — or any public university — endorses or stands for.”

Idaho state representative Brooke Green told CNN that Yenor’s beliefs are “not only outdated, but completely sexist and reflect a society that no longer exists.”

Green helped organize the event Saturday at the university to counter Yenor’s remarks, and said there were about 500 men and women in attendance.

“Many young women at the university are worried their futures are in the hands of a tenured professor who believes they do not deserve to be there and occupy a seat that belongs to a man,” Green said.

“Women shouldn’t have to spend time today defending our value in society or rights as human beings however, women wanted to gather to send a message saying we will continue to occupy professional spaces, whether it’s a boardroom, courtroom, or leadership role within our community,” she said.

Boise State is the largest university in Idaho with nearly 20,000 students.

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CNN’s Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.

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