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Semester of violence: physical attacks on conservative college students keep piling up

It’s not safe to be openly conservative on campus

When a conservative activist with MAGA gear was hit in the face with a brutal haymaker at UC Berkeley earlier this year, it was caught on camera and became fodder for national headlines.

It was also no outlier.

Throughout this fall semester, conservative activists at campuses across the nation have continued to be physically attacked — and had their displays destroyed — by aggressive student peers inflamed by right-of-center messaging.

Just during the last month at least two College Republicans have been hit in the face and a third incident saw campus conservatives surrounded by an aggressive mob that trashed their display and got right in their faces, spewing vulgarity. And these were just the ones caught on camera.

“Over the last semester myself and the members of the Chico State Republicans have been spat on, battered, assaulted, followed around campus, sexually harassed, and even mobbed by 300 students at once. This is the kind of environment that has been created by the modern day college campus,” Chico State College Republicans President Michael Curry told The College Fix.

Curry (pictured above) was one of the ones hit in the face. He’s not alone.

Attack at Sacramento State

Most recently, the former president of the Sacramento State College Republicans was physically attacked. Floyd Johnson, who served as president of the Sac State campus Republican group for a year and a half, was assaulted last week by fellow student Keaton Hill. That confrontation was caught on video and viral.

The two students had verbally sparred over politics on Facebook the night before the altercation, The Sacramento Bee reports. The following morning, Hill reportedly cursed at Johnson as the former was leaving a class the two attended together. Johnson and a friend confronted Hill near the exit of the building while filming the exchange, after which Hill appeared to assault Johnson several times.

The video shows Hill taking multiple swings at Johnson, claiming the former College Republicans president was harassing him.

Speaking to the campus newspaper The State Hornet, Hill said: “I apologize for lunging at Floyd’s phone, although I strongly emphasize that it was not without provocation.” University police told the Bee that charges against Hill are pending “while the department’s investigation continues.”

Attempts to reach the two students involved in the altercation were unsuccessful. Sacramento State spokeswoman Anita Fitzhugh told The College Fix via email that the school is “a space where the free exchange of ideas is encouraged and protected.”

“We are committed to providing a safe and caring environment where everyone feels secure expressing their opinions and beliefs. Violence on our campus is not tolerated. In today’s increasingly tense political climate, we must care for each other and treat one another with respect,” she wrote.

On Facebook, university President Robert Nelsen also said that “no one should ever be physically attacked” on his college’s campus.

Yet a recent video posted on Twitter last weekend shows tensions — and apparently open-palmed slapping — have not yet ceased on campus.

Ongoing violence, vandalism against conservatives

Responses from university officials on these issues have ranged from denouncing the activity — to punishing the conservative students.

In mid-November at Binghamton University in New York, the school’s College Republicans chapter held a table event promoting an upcoming speaking engagement with famed economist Art Laffer, the father of supply-side economics. Video emerged showing a large crowd of angry students screaming at members of the club and ripping their materials from the table.

At one point in the footage a young woman gets very close to a student videotaping the incident and asks her, angrily and repeatedly: “Why are you shaking? Steady yourself! Steady yourself!…Smile more! Smile more! With teeth! Teeth!”

“The fact that ya’ll are even comfortable to do this means that we’re not doing enough,” one student says. Another tells the conservative students: “You’re never gonna be able to table again. You’re never gonna be able to do this again.”

In the aftermath of the incident, Binghamton, which did not respond to queries from The College Fix, announced that the College Republicans had not followed the proper procedures for holding a tabling event and would face discipline.

The same statement acknowledged that the students in the crowd had violated the school’s code of student conduct, but declined to identify and discipline those students, citing the divisive nature of the table’s content.

Also, Laffer’s lecture was shut down by unruly protestors.

Physical destruction

At the University of Michigan in October, meanwhile, a student largely destroyed an information table set up by the conservative student group Turning Point USA. After accusing the club of engaging in “hate speech” and ripping up the club’s materials and throwing them in the trash, the student took a marker and threatened to write on one of the members of the club. After police were called, the vandal quickly left.

A university spokesman told The College Fix last month that officials are aware of the incident and that it was under investigation. Subsequent requests for an update have not been returned.

In October, the University of California, Riverside chapter of Turning Point USA held an event promoting gun rights. Calling the club “criminally negligent” for its advocacy, a student took a sign from the display and crushed it in half. The sign, which had featured images of several firearms, displayed the slogan: “I’m Pro-Choice. Pick Your Gun.”

A university spokesperson did not respond to queries from The College Fix about the incident.

A Turning Point USA spokesman told The College Fix in an email that the organization is “incredibly proud of how our students and staff have performed in the face of some very challenging circumstances.”

“Our organization works to facilitate peaceful debate and robust discussion on campus and we will continue to train our chapters with best practices on how to avoid any physical conflict. No student should ever feel in danger of being physically attacked, especially when participating in a university sanctioned event like tabling,” spokesman Andrew Kolvet said.

“These most recent incidents are just the latest in a long line of campus bullying and intimidation targeting conservatives and they should serve as a wake up call to all universities that they must take these threats extremely seriously just as they would for any other targeted campus community,” he added.

‘All Lives Matter’ causes activist to assault student

As for Curry at Chico State University, his story is an example in which vandalism crosses the line into physical assault.

That November incident involved the College Republicans as they promoted an event with Brandon Straka, the founder of #WalkAway, a group critical of the modern Democratic party. One video of the tabling effort shows a female student trashing the table and swearing at the club members.

In another video, a female protestor stands across from the club’s information table holding a sign that says “black trans lives matter.” At one point in the video, Curry walks over to her and stands next to her with a sign that reads “all lives matter.” Upon reading his sign, she rips it from his hands, slaps him in the face with it and said “get the fuck out of my fucking space.”

The aggressor then shouted that Curry had been “harassing” her, that he had “spilled [her] name to the entire fucking Internet,” and that he “had the nerve to stand right next to [her].”

The university issued a statement the following day that condemned “violence, harassment, and demeaning actions of any sort, for any reason, including culturally offensive stereotypes and personal attacks.” But the statement did not refer to the violent exchange from the day before, even indirectly.

University spokesperson Sean Murphy told The Fix in an email that the school is planning on offering a “free speech training” to “teach faculty/staff and students how they can use free speech to oppose or engage with opinions that are counter to their own.”

Despite everything, Curry remains optimistic.

“All we want is political discourse and to maintain our right to be on campus,” he told The Fix. “We value freedom of speech and the competition of ideas. We won’t be bullied into submission by the leftist mob and we will be back next semester stronger than ever.”

MORE: College Republicans president hit in face for holding ‘All Lives Matter’ sign

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