Republican student accused of 'violence' for stopping vandal
A Turning Point USA mural after it was hit by Antifa vandals at the University of Minnesota.
A member of the University of Minnesota College Republicans was accused of “verbal and physical” assault for challenging a classmate who was vandalizing one of the club’s signs.
The CR chapter had painted a mural of a train as a promotional device, adorning it with slogans such as “Trump/Pence 2020,” “Still not tired of winning,” “Least popular minority on campus,” and “Gophers4Walls.”
"I survived cancer, so I'm really not afraid to deal with the possible attack from the left."
Some students were not pleased with the sign, including Imogen Leah, who recounted in a Facebook post Thursday that she was attempting to “fix” the sign by adding the words “End white supremacy” when she was confronted by CR President Ethan Bunn.
“For my trouble I was physically attacked and called a Nazi by Ethan Bunn of Minnesota College Republicans,” Leah asserts, adding that “He also suggested I read Mein Kampf, and after I asked if he was really calling a queer Jew a Nazi he reiterated it.”
“This kid was camping out to defend his disgusting panel,” she complains, alleging that Bunn “immediately used violence when I started working.”
Campus police, however, apparently took a different view of the situation, as Leah’s post goes on to protest that “UMPD equated my actions (sharpie on public property) with his (verbal and physical assault)” before concluding melodramatically with an assurance that “I’m a little shaken but resolved to fight this bullshit.”
Bunn told Campus Reform that Student Unions & Activities staff contacted the police to report the vandalization incident, but maintained that he did not at any point retaliate in a way that would constitute assault.
“I kicked her papers and grabbed her marker out of her hand,” he explained, adding that he asked Leah to read Mein Kampf “so she could realize that what she was doing (attacking free speech and silencing those who oppose her) was exactly what Hitler advocated for.”
Since the Facebook post, Bunn said the College Republicans have received a lot of angry comments and hate.
He even described one person spitting on the mural and people from Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) putting up leftist propaganda signs, remarking that “we don’t care about those signs, we just don’t want them on our mural.”
According to HECUA’s website, the mission of the organization is to “equip students with skills and knowledge for building just communities and societies.”
Bunn had overheard that HECUA and Antifa were planning to vandalize the mural again, and reported discovering Friday morning that both the CR mural and a nearby Turning Point USA panel had indeed been vandalized, noting that he saw an Antifa sticker in the vicinity.
On a portion of the TPUSA sign proclaiming the group’s support for “free markets,” “free people,” and “free speech,” for instance, the vandals wrote “doesn’t mean we can’t criticize,” and below the words “We Stand” they added, “with immigrants, we do.”
The vandals also took issue with the popular slogan “facts don’t care about your feelings,” labeling it “propaganda,” but reserved their most inflammatory work for a depiction of the American flag, writing “Fight fascism/punch a Nazi/end white supremacy” on the white stripes.
Neither Leah nor the HECUA responded to requests from Campus Reform for additional details, but Leah’s Facebook post has since been updated with a link to video footage of her altercation with Bunn. Campus Reform has requested access to the video, and is still awaiting approval.
For his part, Bunn said that while conservative students face a lot of hatred on campus, he refuses to be cowed into submission, noting that “I survived cancer, so I'm really not afraid to deal with the possible attack from the left.”
Campus Reform also reached out to UMN Student Unions & Activities, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
CORRECTION: This article originally identified Bunn as president of the CR group, and has been corrected to reflect that he is just an ordinary member.
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