It’s not uncommon for conservative students to face pushback on campuses when they table and tout their principles, but an incident Thursday at Binghamton University appears to be one of the more extreme examples in recent times — and the frenzied attack was caught on video.
Cellphone footage obtained by Young America’s Foundation shows that a joint tabling event by the College Republicans and Turning Point USA chapters at the State University of New York at Binghamton descended into chaos Thursday afternoon as a swarm of students surrounded their conservative peers.
The video shows some members of the mob vandalize and trash the conservatives’ displays, curse at them, and get inches away from their faces as they yelled aggressively and demand they pack up and leave and never table on campus again.
When police officers who were called in are shown keeping the crowd at bay, the protesters expressed fury, and eventually start chanting: “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”
“Fuck Trump” and “suck my dick” were also yelled by some of the aggressors to, in their own words, engage in their First Amendment rights too, and later they chanted “pack it up, pack it up.”
Materials laid out on the tables that may have triggered the student aggressors included a Gadsden “don’t tread on me” flag, USA buttons, “Capitalism Cures” stickers, red, white and blue “Big Government Sucks” posters and yellow “taxation is theft” posters, among other materials.
The College Republicans were tabling in part to help publicize a “Trump, Tariffs, Trade Wars” lecture the group is hosting in conjunction with YAF that’s set for Monday and will feature economist Art Laffer, said Spencer Brown, a spokesman for YAF.
As the video progressed, one African American student appeared angry that one of the conservative students had claimed “racism doesn’t exist,” the video shows. At another point later in the video, an Asian American student yelled “who are they protecting, people like you,” likely referring to police.
“You don’t even know me,” the conservative student said back.
“You’re white!” she screamed back, eyes wide.
“You’re an idiot, you are going to define me by my skin color,” the male student shot back.
A total of five campus police were eventually called to the scene, and the conservative students were ultimately escorted off campus flanked by the officers for their own protection, Kara Zupkus, a spokeswoman for YAF, told The College Fix.
Brown said what happened at Binghamton University was very troubling.
“These students were all but laying hands on [their conservative peers],” he said in an interview Friday with The College Fix. “This is one of the more extreme situations we’ve seen lately.”
Members of the Binghamton College Republicans and Turning Point USA chapters could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday afternoon by The College Fix. An email and phone call to the Binghamton University media spokesman also went unreturned Friday.
Zupkus said she spoke with Binghamton University College Republicans’ President John Restuccia and that despite the browbeating he and his peers got from the crowd, he seemed to be in good spirits.
In the video, the conservative students could be heard and seen by and large calmly reacting to their peers’ aggressive taunts and accusations.
“We were definitely impressed, they showed the kind of happy warrior mindset we instill in our activists,” Zupkus said. “I think [Restuccia] is actually planning on holding another tabling event to counteract these leftists.”
She said the original video she obtained of the incident was roughly one hour long, and in the beginning things appeared relatively calm, but then continued to become more heated as time when on and more students showed up.
Zupkus said from what she understands, “university police said they are not planning on taking any actions against the students in the video.”
Young America’s Foundation, on its website, is calling on “Binghamton University to issue a statement condemning the behavior of the leftist students at the university, and take a stand for their alleged commitment to equality and free speech–regardless of race or viewpoint.”
On Monday, November 18, Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose released a statement. He said the College Republicans and Turning Point USA did not have official permission to be tabling that day, that they twice refused to leave, and that their messaging and actions were “provocative.”
“The groups’ display included provocative posters with gun imagery, this being the same day as the Saugus High School shooting. Self-evidently from the nature of their display and their refusal to comply with procedures for reserving the space in question, the groups intended to be provocative,” Rose stated.
With that, the College Republicans may face some sort of consequences, Rose stated.
“Had the group followed procedures, the University would have had the opportunity to plan for what was self-evidently a provocative presentation in a manner that may have facilitated expressive activity by both the tabling groups and those who wished to demonstrate against them. Any future action taken against the College Republicans will pertain to their violation of University and SA policies and procedures and not to the content of their message,” Rose stated.
He added the protesters will not face disciplinary measures: “There were also protesters who acted in a manner that may have violated University rules. In the context of the incident and in keeping with the principles and values noted above, the University did not seek to identify or charge any protesters.”