Binghamton University Protest picks up national attention

Local News

The Binghamton University protest that derailed a lecture by a prominent conservative economist has become a subject of national attention.

Protestors shouted down Art Laffer before he could give a speech at the invitation of the school’s College Republicans club.

The event has garnered national attention from outlets such as NPR, Fox News and the Boston Globe.

Senator Senator Fred Akshar to Mayor Rich David are displeased with the University’s handling of the events.

And Broome County legislature chairman Dan Reynolds also expressed frustration with the school’s failure to protect Laffer’s free speech rights and vowed not to set foot on campus.

You can read Binghamton University Vice President’s Brian Rose’s current statement here:

Dateline Addition: Monday, November 18

A message from Vice President Brian Rose

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:

1. The University moved the event to a larger lecture hall due to safety concerns.
2. Demonstrators were provided the opportunity to hold their own speak-out in an adjacent lecture hall.
3. The University deployed a large number of police to maintain order at the event.
4. 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.

The University is incredibly disappointed with the events that happened tonight, particularly given that demonstrators were provided an adjacent lecture hall to engage in a counter discussion. The protestors chose instead to infringe on the expressive activity of others and to prevent those who wished to hear the speaker from doing so.

The investigation of student organizations and individual students who encouraged or participated in any activity that violated applicable law and University policies continues. The University reserves the right to pursue appropriate charges or disciplinary action against those organizations and individuals as relevant information is confirmed.

As an institution of higher education, freedom of speech is fundamental to our core mission; academic inquiry and the exchange of ideas rest on the principle that all have a right to express their beliefs.

Brian T. Rose
Vice President for Student Affairs
Brian T. Rose
Vice President for Student Affairs

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