Watch: Protesters Shut Down Art Laffer Speech at Binghamton U.

Free Speech College
AFP PHOTO/Josh Edelson

Two people were arrested on Monday at Binghamton University in New York after student protesters barged into an event featuring economist Arthur Laffer. The school’s College Republicans group said that the speaking engagement was canceled about two minutes after Laffer walked on stage. The school’s student government reacted by banning the College Republicans from booking events on campus.

Economist Arthur Laffer had just taken the stage at Binghamton University when a crowd of student protesters began shouting, disrupting the event. As chaos ensued, one protester’s voice was carried above the others, as he expressed his outrage into a megaphone for all to hear.

“We are tired of being oppressed, and we are tired of getting murdered by this administration,” proclaimed the megaphone-wielding protester, “because of this, we will mention the stories of all the lives lost through the administration that you, this man, this liar, Arthur Laffer supports.”

The protester then proceeded to shout a list of his grievances at Laffer, who was the economic advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Binghamton University College Republicans chapter president John Restuccia spoke to Breitbart News about the incident, saying: “the school decided the best way to relieve the protesters’ pressure was to give them their own separate lecture hall to protest in.”

“But their lecture hall was right next to ours,” explained Restuccia. “So a bunch of protesters walked into our event early. They were right next door, so it was easy for them to come on over.”

“After I introduced Laffer, he walked onto the stage and was only able to say one sentence before the event was shut down,” he added. “Instead of removing the disruptors, the school asked our speaker to leave.”

As Laffer was being escorted out of the building, chants of “No justice, no peace” rang throughout the hallways.

Two individuals, one student and one community member, were arrested amid the protests, according to a report by the school’s student newspaper, Pipe Dream.

“One of the officers tried to calm the protester down, but a group surrounded him to protect him from police,” said Restuccia.

According to other video footage obtained by Breitbart News, one student can be heard shouting “get your hands off him!” as a man who appears to be security personnel pulls a protester down from the top of a table and attempts to escort him from the lecture hall.

Monday evening was not the first time members of the school’s College Republicans group found themselves unable to exercise their First Amendment rights on campus.

Last week, a mob of leftist activists surrounded and harassed the conservative students while they tried to promote their Monday event, with one leftist saying to them, “You’re never gonna be able to do this again,” referring to the conservative students engaging in campus activities as a group.

Last week’s incident — which was also captured in a series of unsettling videos — was followed up by the Binghamton College Democrats releasing a statement calling on the school’s student government to “immediately suspend Binghamton University College Republicans” from being able to engage in campus activities as a group.

The College Democrats argued that “allowing College Republicans and Turning Point USA to remain on [campus]” created “a more hostile environment and further endangered the protesters.”

On Tuesday — less than 24 hours after the incident involving Laffer — the Binghamton College Republicans received an email from the school’s student government, informing them that the group is no longer permitted to book rooms or tabling space on campus.

“This event. this whole thing. it’s an embarrassment for Binghamton University, which failed to protect its students’ First Amendment rights,” said Restuccia. “Instead of immediately removing the disruptors, the university escorted Laffer out of his own lecture.”

A university spokesperson responded to Breitbart News’ request for comment by referring this reporter to the following statement:

This evening, 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. The University anticipated that the event would attract demonstrators, given the challenges with a tabling activity by the College Republicans last week, so it took several proactive steps to manage the event following announcement of a planned disruption:

  • The University moved the event to a larger lecture hall due to safety concerns.
  • Demonstrators were provided the opportunity to hold their own speak-out in an adjacent lecture hall.
  • The University deployed a large number of police to maintain order at the event.
  • Attendees at the lecture were asked to allow the presentation to go forward and reserve their questions until the end.

Despite those measures, the lecture was immediately disrupted and the speaker was entirely 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 University did not respond to Breitbart News’ inquiry regarding which measures, if any, will be taken in order to ensure that the First Amendment rights of all students are upheld on campus.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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