WATCH: Free speech event venue hijacked by protesters

Student protesters at the University of Albany recently hijacked the venue for a free speech event featuring conservative commentator Ian Haworth.

Campus police escorted members of TPUSA, the host organization, away from the protesters who chanted profanities, damaged a Bible, and even formed a conga line in the venue.

Student protesters at the University of Albany (UAlbany) recently hijacked the venue for an event featuring Ian Haworth, a conservative commentator and host of the Off Limits podcast

Haworth could only deliver his lecture on free speech after campus police escorted members of the host organization, a Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter, to another room. Photos, video footage, and interviews obtained by Campus Reform depict protesters chanting profanities, damaging a Bible, and even forming a conga line in the venue. 

[RELATED: SF State admin sides with Riley Gaines’ attackers, blocks her on social media]

TPUSA announced the Apr. 4 event in an Instagram post, extending the invitation to guests not affiliated with UAlbany, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. 

A Twitter thread from Haworth shows photos and videos of student protesters forming a conga line, singing Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The U.S.A.,” and “destroy[ing] a Bible.”

In an interview with Campus Reform, Haworth referenced the protesters at San Francisco State University (SFSU) who attacked Riley Gaines after she spoke at a “Save Women’s Sports” event. 

“Following the protests surrounding both my speech at SUNY Albany and Riley Gaines’ speech at SFSU, one thing is clear: free speech is under direct assault on college campuses,” Haworth says. 

At one point during the protest, students danced before a clapping audience and shouted, “TPUSA sucks” and “Albany is gay as f**k,” as seen in a video obtained by Campus Reform

Sarah Krutov, a TPUSA field representative, told Campus Reform that protesters stole and defaced the organization’s signs. One sign recovered by TPUSA had “F**K TRANSPHOBES” written on the back. 

[RELATED: Professor calls it ‘admirable’ to murder ‘racist, homophobic, or transphobic speakers’]

Because of the protesters, Krutov says that Haworth could not speak at the venue. The University Police Department (UPD) had to escort TPUSA members to a room on another floor where they heard his speech. 

Steven Belford, the TPUSA chapter secretary, told Campus Reform that the organization wants “to thank the UPD police officers that kept [them] all safe.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, UAlbany writes that it is “equally committed to fostering an environment in which all students feel safe and included–and that the right to protest is also protected.”

Haworth says that “[a]ll colleges, especially public institutions, have a duty to ensure that their students remain safe while exercising their First Amendment rights.” 

“However,” he continues, “I am not confident that the students who behaved terribly in response to my speech will face any true consequences because this is a fight most institutions simply do not want to have.”

Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties listed for comment and will update this article accordingly.