Students storm library, shut down College Republicans meeting
A College Republicans meeting at the University of California, Santa Cruz was taken over by protesters screaming that the group’s existence is a threat to the safety of students.
Shortly after the CR meeting convened, one student entered the ground floor room of McHenry Library to ask attendees which group was assembling. After being informed that the meeting was a gathering of College Republicans, the student returned about 15-20 minutes later with company.
"As a Democrat, I am embarrassed that some people on the left act this way. They give all of us a terrible name."
One of the ringleaders of the protest was student activist Haik Adamian, who posted an announcement in the official UCSC Student Facebook group calling on students to deny the CR group its First Amendment rights.
“White Supremacist, fascist sympathizing College Republicans are having a meeting at McHenry library, room 0332. Everybody be aware of this violent racist activity happening everyday on this campus!” he wrote, adding that “We need a movement of people on this campus that rejects the ‘right of assembly,’ or ‘right of free speech’ for white supremacists and fascists.”
Heeding Adamian’s call, student activists disrupted the meeting by banging open the door to the meeting space and shouting accusations that the members were “fascists,” “racists,” and “white supremacists.”
According to the UCSC College Republicans, their offers to discuss the concerns of the protesters were met with exclamations that “dialogue is violence,” after which the protesters called the club’s presence a “threat to the library” and demanded that the CR members vacate the space immediately.
The protesters even reportedly berated library staff members when they refused to shut down the pre-approved meeting. One staff member eventually asked the CR members to leave in order to end the disturbance, but meeting attendees chose to respond by sitting quietly and refusing to leave the area.
The commotion culminated in one of the student activists running out into the main library area screaming that there were “Nazis downstairs,” but while the gimmick drew several spectators, many of them expressed indignation at the actions of the protestors.
"As a Democrat, I am embarrassed that some people on the left act this way,” remarked Phil Leonard Vogel, creator of the moderate campus news publication City on a Phil. “They give all of us a terrible name."
After nearly two hours, school officials eventually called the police, who reportedly arrested three of the protesters.
“When the protesters came in, we all just wanted to talk with them. We didn't want there to be any trouble, and since we enjoy debate, they would've been welcome to talk,” CR President Brandon Lang told Campus Reform, though he added that he “wasn't surprised when they continued their chanting, as they made it obvious from the outset that they weren't there to talk.”
Lang isn’t terribly bothered by the incident, though, noting that “all of the people who came down to see what was going on...ended up siding with us because it was immediately obvious that what they heard was inaccurate” and speculating that the incident may even “result in the club receiving a lot of new members in the coming week, as I've seen an uptick in the number of people requesting to join the FB page.”
Despite the group’s patience with the protesters at the time, though, CR members addressed the UCSC Student Union Assembly meeting Tuesday night to propose sanctions against two protesters who also happen to be SUA officers.
While the SUA ultimately decided that it was not consistent with the SUA Constitution to sanction the members, Lang told Campus Reform that many of the student government representatives seemed “minorly disturbed” while being informed of their colleagues’ participation in the disruption.
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