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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.

7 Replies to “UPDATE: Binghamton University Administrator Responds to Incident on the Spine”

  1. Very cringe of Rose! I hope you big guys get the respect you deserve. Pipe dream will keep spreading lies about our students and gamers. Keep on keeping on!

  2. Brian T Rose is an embarrassment to the school. Those protestors broke University rules and U.S. laws! If I were a member of College Republicans I’d seriously consider pressing charges.

  3. I’m copying the original statement here so those interested can read it for themselves and see to what extent it reflects the Review’s characterization thereof. You’ll notice that (A) he does not imply that the gun imagery was used in response to the Saugus shooting- simply drawing the connection because it’s relevant to show why students responded as they did (as an explanation, not an excuse), (B) he doesn’t say that the University won’t punish the protesters. He says they won’t identify or charge them- which still leaves open the possibility of being sanctioned under the Code of Student Conduct.

    On Thursday, Nov. 14, two groups tabling outside of the Union attracted counter-protesters. The tension between the groups tabling and protesters became volatile and University Police intervened to remove the tabling groups in the interest of the safety of all involved.

    Social media posts have misrepresented the course of events and encouraged political pressure upon the University based upon those misrepresentations. What actually transpired and how the University did and will respond is as follows:

    The College Republicans, an organization chartered by the Student Association (SA), was joined by another group known as Turning Point that, by its own choice, is not chartered by the SA or otherwise recognized by the University. Representatives of the two groups set up tables outside the Union in a reservable space without having followed procedures to properly secure use of the space. Representatives of the Union professional staff and of the SA notified the tabling students that they were tabling without reservation in a space that had to be reserved in advance and asked them to relocate. The groups refused twice to move. The groups’ display included provocative posters with gun imagery, this being the same day as the Saugus High School shooting. Self-evidently from the nature of their display and their refusal to comply with procedures for reserving the space in question, the groups intended to be provocative. Social media activity suggesting they were handing out hot chocolate and promoting an upcoming lecture fail to accurately represent the context.

    Students offended by the display and disapproving of the views of the two tabling organizations gathered around the tables in increasing number. University Police were alerted by several members of the University community and responded to monitor the escalating situation. Counter-protesters began pulling down the tables and sweeping the political literature and materials of the tabling groups into boxes in an attempt to close down the tabling activity. This increased the volatility of the situation and University Police stepped in between students from the tabling groups and protesting students to try to maintain safety. Eventually the police directed the tabling groups to abandon the area and escorted them away. Some protesters viewed the actions of police as protecting the tabling students based upon race and directed chants at police. The escalating situation was successfully defused without physical injury to anyone present.

    The University’s response was and will be guided by principles and values related to safety, equity, free expression and reason. As the College Republicans were advised prior to the incident escalating, they had violated applicable procedures related to reserving the space in question. The purpose of those procedures is to avoid conflicts among groups for use of the space and to allow the University to safely manage activity in this area. Had the group followed procedures, the University would have had the opportunity to plan for what was self-evidently a provocative presentation in a manner that may have facilitated expressive activity by both the tabling groups and those who wished to demonstrate against them. 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. The University will also work with the SA to ensure that there is clarity and understanding around policies and procedures related to the use of space by campus-affiliated groups and others, and will review how to best respond to those violating these policies and procedures.

    There were also protesters who acted in a manner that may have violated University rules. In the context of the incident and in keeping with the principles and values noted above, the University did not seek to identify or charge any protesters. To do so would have escalated an already volatile situation and run counter to the primary interest in safely de-escalating the situation. In other circumstances, the University has taken action against individuals infringing upon expressive activity without regard to viewpoint. Our response has and will continue to take into account the full context in each instance.

    We acknowledge the larger political context in our country that is polarizing our society. It is unfortunate that interests external to the campus have seized upon this incident and attempted to mischaracterize it to feed their own narrative and to attempt to influence our response. We will not be responding to those external voices or altering our approach as a result of external pressure. We will continue to work within our community to facilitate the expression of the many diverse viewpoints that are present on our campus, to encourage members of our community to respect one another through disagreement, to maintain a safe campus community and to exercise professional judgment fairly to achieve those ends.

    Brian T. Rose
    Vice President for Student Affairs

    1. Looks like the Review’s conclusions are spot on. Both of your points are proven false by the statement that you shared.

  4. Shame on Rose as he tried to shift this whole situation from “left mobs shushing and abusing people who think differently” to “oh they didn’t follow the procedure to set up tabling and if they did then none of this would’ve happened”.

  5. There should be repercussions against the mob of students and the university for its support of the mob. Mob violence like that under Stalin cannot be tolerated on our American campuses. It seems that only through federal sanctions….with holding federal money to Binghampton….and appropriate law suits by the three students who were threatened with violence by this mob, will these events on our college campuses finally stop. I also hope that parents of students and financial supporters of SUNY Binghamton, and alumni, take action before someone gets seriously hurt, as has happened in other similar situations.

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