EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Public univ. official confronts 'trespassing' conservatives
- Video from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County shows a university official shutting down a recruitment operation for conservative student group Turning Point USA.
- The official told the activists that if they did not "pack up," he would call the police and report them for “trespassing” on the public campus.
- Before being forced out, a possible university employee attempted to engage the activists in debate, claiming that to fight for both free speech and limited government is contradictory.
Activists recruiting for a conservative student organization were instructed to move by the threat of police force at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in early September because they were not in an “approved” location.
Before Joshua Fox, a field representative for Campus Reform’s parent organization the Leadership Institute, and Turning Point USA recruiter Olivia Talley were shut down by a campus official for not being in the “designated tabling area,” they were approached by a woman who they say appeared to be an employee of the university, although Campus Reform could not independently verify her employment status.
In trying to challenge the group’s stated mission of promoting free speech and limited government, the woman attempted to argue that the right to freedom of speech is “government-given” rather than being a “god-given right.”
“A woman who worked for the University began questioning our group’s purpose. She wanted us to say that freedom of speech is given to us by the government and that we are not born with that right,” Fox told Campus Reform.
Fox says that the woman then realized that Talley was recording her with her cell phone, after which point the woman can be heard saying to Fox, “and your camera too.”
Fox alleged that the woman “tried to remove my body camera until I informed her I had a right to film her actions because we were on public property outside," although Campus Reform could not confirm this claim.
"This just goes to show that universities are run by left-leaning individuals who don’t believe we are born with inalienable rights," Fox said.
The woman eventually left after complaining that Fox “dismissed” her to speak with an interested student approaching the table.
Soon afterward, Fox and Talley were approached by UMBC Assistant Director of Event Production Simon Reilly, who told them that they were not in an “approved tabling location.”
“You guys can’t just come and set up,” Reilly said.
When Talley pointed out that they were on public property, Reilly responded by repeating “this is not an approved space for tabling.”
Talley assured Reilly that she would familiarize herself with the process, but Reilly persisted in insisting that the group “pack up,” threatening to call campus police on the group for “trespassing.”
“He told us we were not tabling in an approved location and that we had to table in a specific area after receiving a permit to do so. He threatened to call the police on us for trespassing if we did not pack up and leave,” Fox told Campus Reform. “He did not care that it was public property or that it was outside. The University of Maryland Baltimore County is without a doubt anti-free speech. Two employees of the University disregarded the First Amendment and threatened legal action against us for advocating conservative ideas.”
After Fox and Talley agreed to leave, Reilly told them they were “more than welcome” to come back and continue their operation in one of the approved “tabling locations.”
“But you have to follow that process, just so we don’t have stuff like this all over the campus,” he said.
Reilly remained in the area after Fox and Talley agreed to leave, making sure that they did indeed “pack up” and go.
In a statement to Campus Reform, university spokeswoman Dinah Winnick claimed that ”the use of university facilities, including setting up tables, is subject to policies and procedures. These include reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.”
She noted that the group was ”unaffiliated” with the school and added, "the group did not follow the university's published requirements and was therefore asked to leave. They were also offered information on applicable policies and procedures, should they wish to set up a table in the future.”
Campus Reform reached out separately to Reilly for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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