Leftist protesters interrupted a College Republicans meeting Sunday night in the library at the University of California, Santa Cruz, calling members “fascists,” “racists” and “white supremacists” during a lengthy demonstration that ended in three arrests.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
Though the College Republicans initially offered to speak to the protesters, those demonstrating refused to leave and demanded instead the Republicans end their meeting. One person in attendance, a Democrat, stood up, however, and defended his right-leaning fellow students.
“I immediately stood up and confronted them,” Phil Leonard told Fox News. “I was the only one to stand up and confront them.”
The school’s director of news and media relations, Scott Hernandez-Jason, expressed disappointment in the episode.
“It’s unfortunate and disappointing that a few students disrupted their meeting and refused repeated requests to leave,” Hernandez-Jason told Fox News in an email. “UC Santa Cruz vigorously supports our students’ rights to peacefully and lawfully assemble.”
The demonstration came about when a far left activist found out the College Republicans were meeting on the ground floor of the library – in a small rectangular room with one entrance and bad cell service – and posted the details to a UCSC Facebook group with nearly 20,000 members, Leonard said.
“They put out a dog whistle for any crazy or deranged person to stop white supremacy,” Leonard said.
A core group of three protesters, joined by a few others, showed up, shouting chants such as “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!”
Leonard said one protester looked at him and told him: “Your existence is a disturbance to every marginalized person in this country.”
“You don’t know who you’re talking to,” he said he responded. “First of all, I’m a registered Democrat. I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life, and I’m here speaking for ideas which is what you’re supposed to do at a college.”
Leonard, a fourth-year politics major, said he started going to College Republican meetings last May when he was working on a piece for his moderate campus publication, City on a Phil, and he started bringing Democrat friends along with him. Leonard said the behavior particularly affected him because he’s Jewish, and he immediately connected the actions of the protesters – seeking to shut down free speech -- with the actions of the Nazis.
“That’s literally how fascists think,” he said. “This kid is literally a fascist.”
Soon, students studying in the library began to complain. A librarian entered and, at one point, asked the College Republicans to leave in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. The group refused, however.
One protester bolted from the room and started running up and down the library stairs shouting about “Nazis” and “white supremacists.”
“I didn’t know who that nutty chick was, but her fliers were all over the school, so when I said her name, she flipped out,” Leonard said. “She flipped out even more when I told her I voted for her [for the Student Union Assembly election].”
When the librarian returned with her boss, the protesters accused her of being a white supremacist. The campus police were eventually called, but the demonstrators still refused to stop the disruption. A black officer showed up and the protesters responded by explaining racism and white supremacy to him, Leonard said.
“Almost all the people in the library, mostly liberal at this point, started getting upset with them, and laughing at them and telling them to leave,” Leonard said. “The whole school and the whole library turned against them.”
Despite attempts by the police to negotiate a peaceful conclusion, Leonard said the protesters insisted on being arrested.
They got their wish. The trio of students were arrested for disturbing the peace, failure to disperse, unlawful assembly and trespassing, Hernandez-Jason said.
Leonard posted video of the incident to the same UCSC Facebook page the protest organizer originally used to plan the demonstration. Other campus groups, many of them liberal, put out statements condemning the actions of the disrupters, Leonard said.
“If there was a social stigma against College Republicans, that stigma is gone now,” Leonard said. “Basically everything the protesters wanted, the exact opposite happened.”