College Students Disrupt ‘Free Speech’ Event With Chants, Stolen Pizza And A Conga Line


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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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  • Students at the University of Albany in New York shouted down conservative speaker Ian Haworth to prevent his talk on “Free Speech on Campus” from beginning, videos posted on social media show.
  • Haworth was eventually able to deliver his speech when the event was moved to a separate venue with more “controlled access,” a university spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. 
  • “Ultimately, my conclusion was simple: college should be a place where free speech flourishes. Instead, it’s where free speech goes to die, and these protesters proved my point,” Haworth told the DCNF.

SUNY Albany (UAlbany) students shouted down a conservative speaker who was invited to campus by a student organization to talk about free speech on Tuesday, videos of the event show.

The Turning Point USA (TPUSA) at UAlbany invited Ian Haworth, speaker and host of “Off Limits,” to discuss “Free Speech on Campus” Tuesday evening, according to the chapter’s Instagram. Students flooded the event to heckle and shout down Haworth in an attempt to disrupt the event, videos posted on social media reveal. (RELATED: Stanford Admin Eggs Students On As They Shout Down, Heckle Federal Judge During Talk)

Protesters filed into the venue chanting “this is what queer rage looks like” and “no cops, no KKK, no TPUSA” while eating pizza that was set out for event attendees, according to a Twitter video by TPUSA Northeast Field Representative Sarah Krutov. They later chanted “when trans rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back” and “we can’t hear you” while two protesters walked in circles around the room.

“The first thing that came through my mind was ‘is this event even going to happen?’ Which it did end up happening near the end, not just the way I wanted it to,” Krutov told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Protesters also crumbled up pages of Krutov’s Bible, according to a photo she shared on Twitter. A conga line formed as protesters demanded “where is Ian?” before the speech began.

Other chants included “fuck Ian” and “Ian’s worthless,” and protesters later began dancing to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.,” according to videos on Twitter.

“If the protestors had bothered to stop screaming ‘f*** you TPUSA’ while simultaneously shoveling down pizza provided by TPUSA they might have been surprised by my message,” Haworth told the DCNF. “I discussed the double edged sword that is free speech, how it’s being eroded elsewhere, and what true freedom of speech means in the United States. I talked about the fact that this includes hearing ideas you detest, and that it may even protect politically divisive issues such as drag queen story hours. Ultimately, my conclusion was simple: college should be a place where free speech flourishes. Instead, it’s where free speech goes to die, and these protesters proved my point.”

Haworth was able to deliver his speech after the university intervened and found an alternative location, a university spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The venue allowed for more “controlled access” and the protesters continued their opposition outside.

“Consistent with the mission of an institution of higher learning, we expect members of our community to be able to voice their views in a manner that promotes constructive dialogue and honors UAlbany’s commitment to freedom of expression. This is especially true when it involves speech that members of our community find offensive or objectionable,” the university said in a statement to the DCNF.

The protest was “actually well within free speech guidelines,” Haworth told the DCNF. The problem arises when student heckling prevented the speech from starting, making it “clear that they weren’t interested in free speech, just their free speech.”

The College Democrats chapter issued a statement about the protests on Wednesday stating that the university police detained protesters.

“Trans rights are human rights and when anyone’s human rights are attacked we must fight back,” the chapter wrote on Instagram. “Thank you to everyone who exercised their right to free speech last night and stood up against bigotry, drowned out transphobia, and showed solidarity with our LGBTQ+ and BIPOC community.”

“Ultimately, this isn’t about me. The protesters might have been screaming about me all night, but I doubt they even knew my name more than a few hours beforehand,” Haworth said. “Instead, they actually hate freedom of thought, and the freedom to question ideas (especially their ideas). I left Albany the next morning, but there are conservative students who study and live on that campus, and are forced to deal with this unfortunate reality every single day. They’re the true victims here.”

The TPUSA chapter, the College Democrats and the university police department did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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