College investigates motive in torching of conservative student's dorm room door
While outlets have suggested a political motivation, the school says the motive is still under investigation.
Three people have been arrested in possible connection to the crime.
A conservative student at Tulane University had his dorm room door torched.
A student and activist with Turning Point USA and Young Americans for Liberty at Tulane University had the door to his dorm room lit on fire.
Peyton Lofton’s door was set on fire just after midnight on March 23 by three individuals, two of them students at Tulane, according to WVUE. The suspects lit a sign that was on the door on fire, but the flames were short-lived and “minor damage” was caused.
The incident comes just weeks after a Twitter account named “@YALexposed” posted a screenshot of Lofton's Facebook page along with the words, "Tulane's own Peyton Lofton seems to like YAL's offensive Facebook page," according to Fox News. That Twitter account has since been taken down.
THIS IS INSANITY!
Step 1. @YALiberty student Peyton Lofton DOXXED for being a YAL member
Step 2. His dorm room door is LIT ON FIRE?!
Dialogue and debate people... NOT VIOLENCE
Constitution-loving American college students should not fear for their safety@TulaneYAL @Tulane pic.twitter.com/xcTyg5MzVJ
— Cliff Maloney (@LibertyCliff) March 23, 2019
But while a number of media outlets suggested in their reporting that the attack was politically motivated, there is not yet any evidence to suggest that is indeed the case.
"There have been allegations that the incident was politically motivated," a statement from the university reads. "Tulane University is taking this very seriously and law enforcement officials are thoroughly investigating. Tulane University is committed to protecting the safety of all in our community and to protecting free speech on campus."
Furthermore, a university spokesperson told Campus Reform that a police report documenting exactly what happened leading up to and during the incident, as well as a possible motive, is not yet available.
Naima Okami, Robert Money, and David Shelton will all be facing charges of aggravated arson, the report stated. Okami is a student at Brown University, while Money and Shelton attend Tulane. It is not clear whether the students who committed the arson were also behind the Twitter account.
“Dialogue and debate people… NOT VIOLENCE,” YAL President Cliff Maloney tweeted. “Constitution-loving American college students should not fear for their safety." https://t.co/wCxXCePrtn
— YALiberty (@YALiberty) March 26, 2019
Lofton told Fox News that he was shocked when told his door was lit on fire.
“It took a while for me to process last night when they said someone lit the door on fire," Lofton said. "I was originally really angry, stormed back to campus and once I got there reality started setting in. I was a little scared, a little nervous, I could have been sleeping."
The conservative activist also said that the incident did not scare him and that he will keep working as an activist.
The incident occurred at Waterhead Residential Hall, according to the Tulane Daily Crime Log.
Cliff Maloney, the national chairman for Young Americans for Liberty, told Campus Reform that the incident shows how the nation has become embroiled in “radicalized politics.”
“Torching a student’s dorm room because they belong to YAL, a Constitution loving organization, is absolutely insane,” Maloney said.
Maloney also told Campus Reform that he believes that the suspects were trying to send a message that capitalism and individual liberty are now “evil.”
“In the process, they’ve committed a heinous crime that is punishable for up to twenty years. This is not some stupid prank... this is an act that could have ended with taking someone’s life," he said.
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