A ‘smoke bomb’ disrupted the meeting of a University of Texas at Austin conservative group hosting a pro-life speaker Monday.
The Young Conservatives for Texas (YCT) invited The Radiance Foundation President Ryan Bomberger to speak on pro-life issues before the event was interrupted, Fox 7 reported Monday.
“The event [sic] was going normally and then we heard the fire alarm and evacuated, as we were leaving we saw smoke,” YCT chairman Saurabh Sharma said, according to Fox 7. “Shortly after evacuating, the police informed us it was a smoke bomb.”
Sharma believes “far-left activists” were involved in the “petty sabotage,” though he stated to The Daily Caller News Foundation over Facebook messenger that there was “no word on who it was and no group has taken credit yet.”
The UT Austin Police said a criminal investigation was underway, according to a Monday tweet.
UTPD responding to Gearing Hall (GEA) where smoke device used to interrupt student event. Building evacuated. No injuries. Criminal investigation underway. If you saw anything call 512-471-4441, ext. 9.
— UT Austin Police (@UTAustinPolice) April 30, 2019
The pro-life organization said it had been protested on multiple college campuses, but “never experienced a hit and run like this,” according to a Monday Facebook post.
“If you can’t (intellectually) beat ’em, smoke ’em out,” The Radiance Foundation wrote. (RELATED: Three People Linked To Burning Student’s Dorm Room Door Caught)
“All members of the university community and their guests must be able to express their views without interference,” UT Austin spokesman J.B. Bird said to TheDCNF over email Tuesday. “Fortunately, this event was able to continue. Attempts to disrupt speakers not only violate university rules but also go against the values of free expression that are vital to our campus.”
YCT is a youth organization with nine chapters across the state that focuses on “advocating for conservative fiscal and social policies, campus activism, campaigning for political candidates, and rating the Texas legislature,” according to the organization’s website.
The group has faced resistance on campus before. Protesters ripped signs supporting then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in October 2018. Someone also snatched a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat from a member at the same event while another student protester shoved Sharma.
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