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Protesters interrupt speech at BU Monday night

VESTAL (WBNG) – Chaos erupted on campus Monday night at Binghamton University.

As the group College Republicans hosted economist Dr. Arthur Laffer to speak, students organized the protest using Dr. Laffer’s speech time as their platform to deliver their message against racial disparity and gun violence.

One protester interrupted just moments into Dr. Laffer’s speech. Others then took turns.

People in the lecture hall then began chanting, “Free speech. Free speech. Free speech.”

In the end, Dr. Laffer did not get the opportunity to make his speech.

Instead, University Police arrested two protesters who tried to interfere with police.

“Whatever arguments either side have, I feel like it undermines anything and everything they have to say the way both sides are going about it afterwards,” Isaiaiah Williams, who attended the event, told 12 News.

Protesters later formed a circle outside showing solidarity. Dozens stood there for about half an hour drawing attention to their cause. All of this comes after a video of a confrontation on campus that happened last Thursday.

That video shows conservative group, Turning Points USA, tabling for gun rights in an area they didn’t have permission to do so.

Protesters took offense to their message. One reason is this happened on the same day as a school shooting in California.

From there, the video shows protesters verbally attacking the group and packing up materials until University Police arrived.

Member of P.L.O.T. declined our requests for interviews at the event on Monday night.

“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,” said Brian Rose, Vice President of Student Affairs at Binghamton University. “The protesters chose instead to infringe on the expressive activity of others and to prevent those who wished to hear the speaker from doing so.”

Rose then added, “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.”

Paul Mueller

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