EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Protesters disrupt Jeff Sessions at Northwestern...but former AG's not having it
New video obtained exclusively by Campus Reform shows former Attorney General Jeff Sessions responding to disruptive protesters during a recent speech he gave at Northwestern University, and challenging the school not to tolerate it for "one minute."
"You can't have protesters shut down people's right to speak in this country," Sessions says in the video obtained by Campus Reform.
Referring to the disruptive behavior as "stupidity," Sessions called on Northwestern to reject it: "This great university should not tolerate one minute. You shouldn't be blaming young Republicans for articulately defending their beliefs and putting up with this kind of trash."
Sessions spoke to students at Northwestern on Nov. 5. during an event hosted by Northwestern University College Republicans and sponsored by Young America’s Foundation (YAF). Max Tokman, secretary of events for College Republicans at Northwestern University spoke to Campus Reform to describe the breakdown of Sessions’ speech on campus.
In Sessions’ speech, titled “The Real Meaning of the ‘Trump Agenda,’” the former attorney general spoke about his take on the Trump Administration and its accomplishments, according to Tokman and Turning Point USA Midwest Regional Manager, Bobby McNeily.
According to Tokman, close to 270 people attended the event and were inside the auditorium. He noted that tickets for Sessions’ speech were sold out and the venue was near full capacity.
Disruptions both inside and outside the venue reportedly began just five minutes into Sessions' speech, according to Tokman. But those in disagreement with Sessions made their opposition to his presence on campus before he even arrived. Campus Reform obtained a photo of a flyer promoting the event that was vandalized prior to the former attorney general's appearance.
“Rioters were banging on the walls [outside the event],” Tokman said.
McNeily told Campus Reform that he heard “screaming, pounding, and whaling” throughout Sessions’ speech. McNeily recalled the event as “one of the wildest things I've seen since working with Turning Point USA.”
“They [protesters] were saying things like ‘Abolish ICE’, ‘F*** Jeff Sessions,’” Tokman said.
McNeily told Campus Reform that a number of administrators were present at the event and, “they allowed the disruption to happen.” Tokman included, “No one was removed outside of the auditorium, [students] made rude remarks.” McNeily said that after the speech, a Q&A time with Sessions was disrupted as many as five separate times, adding that "those who engaged in protests tried to cover their faces by wearing scarves and other items."
“Nobody was hurt, the police did a very good job… I was hoping disruptions would’ve been prevented,” Tokman said, adding that the “school [administration] was very cooperative. They definitely did a lot of work. The people [working the event] did an excellent job to keep everyone safe.”
Both Tokman and McNeily told Campus Reform, that prior to Sessions’ speech, there was a group of peaceful protesters on campus that were expressing themselves before tensions escalated.
When asked if he felt threatened on campus, McNeily said, “absolutely."
"[B]ecause of the heated rhetoric [coming from the protesters].” McNeily said, “No one got hurt, but it was a real failure of the administrators allowing the protestors to disturb the peace.” Inside the event, McNeily said that the environment had a “very intimidating feeling when students [were] screaming lies and pounding on walls [throughout Sessions’ speech].”
“Law enforcement officials clearly saw [the protesters’ actions] as a threat," McNeily said. “[The protesters’] goal was getting to Jeff Sessions; their goal was to get in his face. I don’t think students should be intimidated for listening to a [former] federal officeholder.”
Tokman was asked if there has been any other conservative speakers that have spoken at Northwestern University, to which he replied Matt Walsh in May 2019. According to Tokman, there were no protests disrupting that event but Northwestern University’s College Democrats did express their disdain for Walsh’s appearance on campus in the form of a letter.
Tokman noted that Adam Schiff (with invitation from the university) and Stacey Abrams (with invitation from College Democrats) came to the Illinois university with virtually no protests. Tokman said that, “the other side never faces any backlash."
When asked about College Republicans' role on campus, Tokman responded, “We are trying to have a conversation. The purpose of our club is to promote that conservative conversation. I feel that conservatives are very silent here [at Northwestern University].” When asked about the next steps he thinks college conservative students are going to take on campus, he said, the “next step is to keep bringing conservative speakers and resist the attempt[s] to shut down conservative thought on campus.”