Following Antifa radicals’ attack on Tomi Lahren that forced her Turning Point USA event at the University of New Mexico to be tormented following a violent leftist mob breaching the building, UNM released a response.
“We are deeply disappointed in the actions of those individuals who intentionally chose to disrupt a scheduled speaker and infringed upon the rights of the speaker and those who attended the event to listen and engage, vandalized University property and unlawfully pulled a fire alarm,” the university said in a statement reported by Breitbart News.
UNM noted that the extent of the damage included “A hole” that was “found in the drywall of one of the Student Union Building walls.”
“The University of New Mexico is committed to the principles of free speech and values its role as a public square for debate, a marketplace of ideas, and a place to test and challenge competing viewpoints and opinions. In this context, allowing speakers invited by a student organization on campus in no way implies an endorsement of the content of their speeches or their opinions. And those who disagree with the ideas expressed are encouraged to respectfully voice their perspectives,” UNM wrote.
The university continued, “Additionally, several UNM departments will be meeting to discuss improving the environment in which a speaker’s right to conduct their scheduled programming is ensured along with the public’s right to free speech, especially when our facilities are in use for multiple events at the same time.”
Following this statement, the First Amendment-focused group Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) wrote, “FIRE commends UNM for getting it right — unlike many universities in the past,” adding:
UNM took action — calling in more security, barricading the door, and ensuring Lahren finished her speech — before escorting Lahren out for safety reasons. The institution also made clear that it will not tolerate students who infringe on others’ expressive rights regardless of any legitimate complaints regarding the speaker or host organization.
In keeping with the First Amendment, UNM must make sure to limit any sanctions it may impose to those who disrupted the event, and not punish non-disruptive and non-violent protesters who remained outside expressing their own First Amendment rights. So long as it does so, UNM’s actions here should serve as a model to other institutions that will face the substantial disruption of events in the future.