A day after a conservative speaker’s visit upended the University of Connecticut’s campus, students at the public university gathered on Wednesday for a “Meeting of Healing.”
The “healing” meeting came after chaos erupted Tuesday night at UConn during a talk given by Lucian Wintrich, the White House Correspondent for the conservative website The Gateway Pundit.
Protesters shouted down Wintrich, who was invited by the UConn College Republicans, as he gave a speech titled “It’s Okay to Be White.” The event ended after Wintrich was arrested following a physical altercation with an audience member.
The Daily Campus, UConn’s student newspaper, reports the “Meeting of Healing” took place at the university’s African American Cultural Center.
From the report:
The event, called Meeting of Healing, was co-sponsored by Brothers Reaching Our Society (BROS) and the NAACP in order to “create a safe space for people to come and to discuss their feelings about (Tuesday) night’s events,” according to Milcah Sajous, the SUBOG concert community development chair and a fifth-semester HDFS major.
The meeting served as an open forum. Students vocalized their confusion over why the speech by Lucian Wintrich was approved, one of whom was Nathan Nugent, a third-semester pre-sports management major.
“I couldn’t really put into words what I was feeling because it almost felt as if there was no understanding amongst the administration towards students, especially students of color,” Nugent said.
In addition to complaints about Wintrich’s appearance on campus, the student newspaper reports comments at the meeting also included remarks about the heavy police presence on campus for the conservative speaker’s event.
“As soon as I walked into the room and saw police officers and event staff in that room, that’s when I started to feel threatened,” said UConn student Abby Katz.
In addition to the Meeting of Healing, a “March for Action” took place on Friday in response to the university’s handling of Wintrich’s speech.
— Rebecca Lurye (@RebeccaLurye) December 1, 2017
Tuesday’s raucous events included a smoke bomb and broken windows. Wintrich was charged with breach of peace stemming from an altercation with an audience member who took his notes.
That audience member has been identified as Katie Gregory, an adviser at Quinebaug Valley Community College. In a statement, the community college said Gregory “attended the event as a private citizen.”
“The employee attended on her personal time and QVCC learned about the incident when reported in the media. The College does not condone the behavior and encourages peaceful discourse and compassionate debate,” the statement said.
Jim Hoft, founder of The Gateway Pundit, tweeted on Thursday that Wintrich pressed charges against Gregory for theft of property.
“Local detectives reached out to Lucian today after reviewing the evidence,” Hoft said in his tweet.
IMAGE: Nikki Zalewski/Shutterstock