Campus police step in after Antifa threatens Leadership Institute training event

Left-wing Twitter activists attempted to derail the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership Workshop for conservative students at Harper College earlier this month.

The university's response appears to be the exception to a national trend of free expression being threatened on college campuses.

Left-wing Twitter activists attempted to derail the Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership Workshop for conservative students at Harper College earlier this month. These threats required college police officers to ensure workshop participants’ safety during and after the event. 

The Leadership Institute, which is the parent organization of Campus Reform, ran the workshop to train students in effective political activism and organization at the Palatine, Illinois, college on Mar. 11.

Four days before the workshop, the Antifa-affiliated Twitter account Antifascist Rumor Mill encouraged students to sabotage the event by filling seats, a move intended to prevent conservative students from participating. 

The tweet also featured a picture of Leadership Institute’s Carly Tomaine with a red line over the Youth Leadership Schools Director’s headshot. 

The Chicago-based Antifascist Rumor Mill has a history of attempting to shut down conservative speakers including Jordan Peterson, often using the label “fascist.” 

Harper College TPUSA chapter president Grant Saam told Campus Reform that he was made aware of the left-wing threats by a friend who was monitoring the Antifa account. Saam recalled that he immediately contacted the campus police department (HCPD) as well as the university’s Student Engagement department.

Saam noted that both departments were quick to respond and eight officers were assigned to monitor the event, while two officers were detailed to escort Saam and Tomaine from the venue.

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Aside from multiple fraudulent registrations, the event was reported by Saam to have occurred uninterrupted. The group successfully trained 13 young conservatives in leadership abilities. 

Additionally, the left-wing Twitter account Mossberg Bee posted photos of the workshop’s student event organizers, who are also members of the college’s Turning Point USA chapter. 

One tweet accused the members of benefiting local politicians due to one student’s allegedly being the son of a candidate for lieutenant governor. 

The anonymous page has a history of harassing conservatives. In a Mar. 2 post, the group bragged about threatening to confront TPUSA Founder and Executive Director Charlie Kirk at a restaurant. 

Nonetheless, Harper College’s police department ensured an orderly event. 

”Harper College was excellent to work with. The Student Engagement Department and Harper Police were wonderful,” Saam said. “They went above and beyond with their efforts to secure the safety and wellbeing of the students attending the workshop.”

In an email to Campus Reform, Harper College confirmed that the event was held uninterrupted in a safe environment.

In a statement to Campus Reform, Tomaine said that this workshop was the first time she “worked with a university that was so determined to allow students to express their beliefs on campus.”

[RELATED: Stanford U prof, Antifa leader plans ‘broad, visible and loud network’ against campus conservatives]

Tomaine also told Campus Reform that “the university went above and beyond to ensure that students would be safe and the workshop could still take place.”

“It’s a shame more universities don’t take these same measures, especially when it comes to conservative campus groups,” she added. 

The university’s response appears to be the exception to a national trend of free expression being threatened on college campuses. 

Last semester, Campus Reform reported as Emerson College suspended its Turning Point chapter after criticizing the Chinese Communist Party. 

Additionally, Bethany College refused to approve a Turning Point USA chapter last March due to concerns of “hate speech” and possible “harassment.”

At the University of Florida, multiple conservative groups were suspended after being accused of, allegedly, violating COVID-19 policies. 

Pertaining to restricting speech, a staff workshop at the University of Oklahoma hosted was designed to instruct professors on how to censor student speech deemed “derogatory” or hateful. 

Campus Reform reached out to the Antifascist Rumor Mill for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.