Signs ripped up in anger. Chants of “we believe survivors.” Furious finger pointing.
A large group of students became enraged Tuesday afternoon by a pro-Brett Kavanaugh tabling effort at the University of Texas at Austin put together by its Young Conservatives of Texas chapter. A crowd of furious students encircled the group and yelled at its members while chanting obscenities and destroying their signs.
The conservative group had decided to set up a “Confirm Kavanaugh” display in an effort to show support for the embattled U.S. Supreme Court judge nominee and argue for the need for corroborating evidence, said student Anthony Dolcefino, vice chairman of the group.
They drew up signs stating phrases such as “#MeToo gone #TooFar,” “KavaNotGuilty” and “No Campus Kangaroo Courts in Congress.” They also put up a “Change My Mind” sign, a call to debate peers.
“We did want people to talk to us, but unfortunately it’s hard to do that when you have an angry mob ripping our signs and screaming in our faces,” Dolcefino told The College Fix in a telephone interview Tuesday.
The half-dozen or so conservative students who took part in the effort set up their display around 11 a.m. and got a few passersby and hecklers, but the crowd swelled around 12:15 p.m. when classes let out, he said. As the crowd grew the display was relocated to accommodate the throng.
“At the peak we had 150 people out there recording, screaming, rioting,” Dolcefino said. “The UTPD got involved, making sure people were not coming behind us.”
Numerous videos posted Tuesday show the large crowd flank the handful of pro-Kavanaugh students. Most of the questions coming at the conservative students were shouted in angry and accusatory tones, while the YCT students responded in calmer voices. Intermittently throughout the chaos chants of “fuck YCT,” “we believe survivors” and “YCT off UT” started up.
One student told the conservatives if they did not want their signs ripped up they should not have written such offensive things. Another video shows a protester violently grab signs out of the conservative students’ hands and rip them up before coming around their table and getting in their faces. Dolcefino said at one point one of their members was shoved as she had her sign snatched away.
“After two hours, with the intensity of the mob, we decided it was best to wrap it up,” Dolcefino said. Campus police, which had maintained a careful eye on the event and had de-escalated things during tense moments, escorted the conservative students away for their own safety. Dolcefino said officers did not try to shut down the event.
“It is despicable and wrong for people to be here trying to uplift a man who is clearly a perpetrator of assault,” junior Elizabeth Boone, one of the people who protested YCT, told the Daily Texan. “It just really shows that even on a campus like this there are people who truly do not care about women, and they don’t care about people who have been assaulted.”
In retrospect, the most frustrating aspect of the effort was that the Young Conservatives of Texas was accused of being “rape apologists,” which is an inaccurate accusation, Dolcefino said. Nevertheless, he added, he felt the tabling was needed in order to present another side of the debate gripping the nation.
“In general UT is a leftist campus, there is definitely an echo chamber that goes on here,” he said, but added several students quietly gave his group the thumbs up for their efforts.
“That’s what made it worth it to me,” he said.