An event at Binghamton University from conservative student group College Republicans was shut down within two minutes of starting due to protests. Chairman of the New York State Federation of College Republicans Bobby Walker blamed Antifa for the interruption.
Economist Arthur Laffer, a former Reagan administration official, was slated to speak
“On Monday, Nov. 18, a speaker sponsored by the College Republicans was disrupted and ultimately prevented from presenting by a large group of students and others," Binghamton University said on Twitter. Despite precautions taken by the school, it added, “the speaker was prevented from addressing the audience led by an individual using a bull horn. That individual was arrested, as was another individual who attempted to interfere with police.”
Binghamton said it anticipated the protests and took proactive steps, including moving the event to a larger lecture hall on its New York state campus, offering critics their own forum in an adjacent hall, deploying larger numbers of police and security and asking attendees to be respectful.
In a follow-up statement, the school aired its disappointment and vowed to continue investigating: “The University is incredibly disappointed” that “protestors chose to infringe on the expressive activity of others and to prevent those who wished to hear the speaker from doing so. The investigation of organizations and individual students who encouraged or participated in any activity that violated applicable law and University policies.
“The University reserves the right to pursue appropriate charges or disciplinary action against those organizations and individuals as relevant information is confirmed.”
Laffer, who was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump, had intended to teach students about free enterprise and limited government.
The incident comes days after another confrontation at an outdoor display hosted by the College Republicans, which drew in hundreds of protesters and a response from police.
In a tweet Monday, New York Sen. Fred Akshar said he was “disgusted by the chaos” and announced that he would no longer go through with a planned visit to the campus.