By Tommy Gagliano
Four days after chaos erupted on the “Spine” during a College Republicans and Turning Point USA tabling event, Binghamton University administration has finally released a response. (For background information on the situation, check out “Leftist Mob Harasses Conservative Students at BU.”) Brian T. Rose, the Vice President for Student Affairs, sent a message to Binghamton University students via “B-Line” at 12 PM on Monday, November 18th.
Rose begins the statement with a very generic and ambiguous overview of the situation, explaining that there were “two groups tabling” and that they “attracted counter-protestors,” and that the situation became “volatile” and required intervention from University Police. He then addresses the YAF video and other “social media posts,” and claims that they have “misrepresented the course of events.”
Rose follows this up by repeating some of the same lies spread by Pipe Dream and College Democrats, and describes these falsehoods as “what actually transpired.” He says that the two clubs were tabling without permission, which is true. He specifically points out the two posters that contained “gun imagery,” implies that they were put up in response to the Saugus High School shooting, and states that the two groups “intended to be provocative.” He fails to mention that the gun posters were only two of a plethora of other posters and buttons used to advertise the Turning Point USA organization, and that they were only present the table of one of the two groups. He also fails to mention that the tabling was planned before the shooting occurred, and that the organizers could not reasonably be expected to have knowledge of the shooting since it happened shortly before they set up the tables. He ironically concludes this paragraph by saying “Social media activity suggesting they were handing out hot chocolate and promoting an upcoming lecture fail to accurately represent the context.”
As he goes into detail about what happened on the Spine, Rose does point out that the counter-protestors “pull[ed] down the tables and swe[pt] the political literature and materials of the tabling groups into boxes in an attempt to close down the tabling activity.” However, he fails to mention the myriad of verbal abuse directed at the College Republicans and Turning Point representatives, including threats and racist comments, and that this was one-sided, as the tablers did not respond to the harassment by yelling insults back.
Rose implies in his message that if the two clubs had gone through the necessary Student Association channels before setting up their table, that this type of reaction would not have occurred. He then states that “Any future action taken against the College Republicans will pertain to their violation of University and SA policies and procedures and not to the content of their message.”
Rose goes on to address the protestors, saying that some of them “acted in a manner that may have violated University rules.” Despite this, he says that the University will not seek to punish any of the protestors. This decision is perplexing, as he later says in the same paragraph that “In other circumstances, the University has taken action against individuals infringing upon expressive activity without regard to viewpoint.”
He concludes by discussing how “interests external to the campus” have been pressuring him and the administration to condemn the protestors, and that they will not do so.
11 minutes later, the Student Association sent out an email with an announcement of their own. They do not directly comment on the situation that occurred, but simply confirm that they support the right of students to protest, and outline the rules of protesting on campus.