Campus coffee shop evicts College Republicans from 'safe space'

Members of the Fordham University College Republicans were asked to leave an on-campus coffee shop because their MAGA hats apparently violated the shop’s “safe space policy.”

In a video obtained by Campus Reform, the self-identified president of Rodrigue’s Coffee House, a coffee shop run by a student club, is seen telling the College Republicans they have five minutes to get out of the coffee shop.

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“I am protecting my customers,” the president said.

“We are your customers, we bought something,” a CR member replied.

“I don’t want people like you supporting this club… no one here wants people like you supporting our club,” the president retorted. “I am giving you five minutes.”

A student then asked for a refund, to which the president responded, “[y]ou had some coffee… do not try to outsmart me.”

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“You are threatening the integrity of our club. This is a community standard—you are wearing hats that completely violate safe space policy,” she said. “You have to take it off or you have to go.”

One of the students then asked the president to explain what she thinks the MAGA hat stands for, to which she replied, shouting: “Fascism, Nazis! You have three minutes.”

During the confrontation, the president presented the College Republicans with a flyer outlining the shop’s “Safer Space Policy.”

“Rodrigue’s strives to be a safer space on Fordham’s campus. For these reasons, consider the following:

Do not make assumptions about someone’s gender, sexuality, race, class, or experiences. Be aware of your own identity, while being considerate of the personhood of your peers. Be mindful of the ways in which your words and actions impact others. Be aware of the boundaries of other’s space, physical or otherwise, and respect their consent. No racism - No sexism - No homophobia. If you feel that someone has transgressed this policy, we want you to feel comfortable confronting them or approaching a member behind the counter, who is available as a resource to assist you.”

According to the Rodrigue’s Coffee House Facebook page, Rodrigue’s is “the student-run coffee house on Fordham's campus,” which claims it is “a relaxing atmosphere for the Fordham community,” adding “Rodrigue’s is also an event space.”

A glowing 2013 profile in The Fordham Ram begins by declaring that Rodrigue’s is “open to all,” even reiterating that the shop “is the only on-campus club that provides a daily, tangible service to all members of the Fordham community through low-priced, organic and Fair-Trade coffee drinks as well as an open community space.”

The article does note, however, that the student volunteers who work at the shop were aware at the time that some students perceived them as “unfriendly hipsters.”

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“We went there because we wanted to test the unwritten rule that conservatives were banned from that coffee shop,” one CR member told Campus Reform. “We went there and just started doing some homework and studying. Then we were asked to leave.

“We are tuition paying students, therefore we should be able to use any building on campus that we want,” he argued. “This school is over $70,000 a year in tuition, therefore I feel that I have the right to go into all of the buildings that other students are allowed to go into. I also have the right to wear what I want to wear and express my own political views.”

Campus Reform reached out to Fordham for comment on the matter, and is currently awaiting a reply. This article will be updated if and when the university provides comment.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @kassydillon