Vandalism at University of Virginia Ahead of Kellyanne Conway Talk Fits Pattern of Earlier Harassment, Organizer Says

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Organizers of a scheduled speech astatine the University of Virginia (UVA) by Kellyanne Conway, erstwhile run manager and peculiar counsellor to erstwhile President Donald Trump, person met with repeated harassment and vandalism successful caller days from chartless persons who bash not privation the lawsuit to proceed arsenic scheduled oregon to gully important attendance, the pupil radical told The Epoch Times.

The talk, scheduled to statesman astatine 7:00 p.m. connected Sept. 29, is hosted by Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), who person enactment up posters astir the UVA field lone to spot them defaced, torn down, and covered with anonymous signs alluding to the events of Jan. 6.

The tactics enactment to usage present are the latest lawsuit of a wide effort to thwart blimpish speakers astatine schools crossed the country, and are of a portion with earlier strategies utilized to effort to disrupt and “de-platform” past speakers who person travel to UVA to stock their views with the pupil and alumni communities.

Nickolaus Cabrera, manager of the UVA section of YAF, who organized and hosted a well-attended speech by erstwhile Vice President Mike Pence successful April that immoderate activists unsuccessfully tried to cancel, described however helium and chap members enactment up posters astir field successful accordance with assemblage regulations, lone to find them removed and defaced.

Epoch Times Photo Anonymous vandals placed signs specified arsenic this 1 implicit announcements of Kellyanne Conway’s Sept. 29 speech astatine the University of Virginia. (Courtesy of Nickolaus Cabrera)

“One day, each of our posters were taken down. We walked done field and they were each replaced with pieces of insubstantial with the substance ‘Jan 6, 2021,’” Cabrera told The Epoch Times.

Nonetheless, Cabrera said helium hopes that those who dislike Conway and her beliefs volition effort to prosecute civilly with their ideological hostile alternatively than edifice to specified tactics.

“We would evidently promote those individuals who enactment those pieces of insubstantial successful beforehand of our posters to be the lawsuit and inquire questions,” helium said.

Despite the underhandedness of specified tactics, Cabrera said helium has not gone to the medication to inquire for an probe and imaginable disciplinary actions against those responsible, due to the fact that specified harassment is chronic and helium knows good from acquisition that assemblage officials are improbable to bash much.

“We haven’t tried to prosecute an probe into this. These things are common, they hap each the time, and whenever we effort to prosecute them, we don’t get anywhere,” helium said.

In the look of anticipated dangers from pupil activists, the Conway speech has required extended coordination with assemblage police.

“The assemblage constabulary section has been moving with america precise cautiously to marque definite this lawsuit goes arsenic planned, and to enactment metallic detectors successful spot arsenic you locomotion into the gathering and unafraid the perimeter,” Cabrera said.

A Familiar Pattern

Cabrera said this is acold from the archetypal clip that activists opposed to speakers helium has brought to field person resorted to coercion oregon disruption to execute their extremity of “de-platforming” individuals with whom they disagree.

On March 17, a fewer weeks earlier the Pence talk, UVA’s pupil newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, ran a unit editorial entitled “Dangerous rhetoric is not entitled to a platform,” which argued that Pence’s connections to Trump and his stances connected specified issues arsenic same-sex matrimony and Black Lives Matter represent a signifier of unit against marginalized groups successful the country, and that Pence, therefore, should not person the close to explicit his views astatine the university.

In the end, Pence’s speech went up arsenic scheduled, but not without a sustained run of anonymous harassment, intimidation, and sabotage against the lawsuit and its organizers. As successful the lawsuit of Kellyanne Conway’s talk, chartless persons vandalized posters enactment up astir field to beforehand the event, drafting devil’s horns implicit Pence’s image.

In October 2021, Cabrera and chap members of YAF organized an lawsuit entitled “In Defense of Mr. Jefferson,” successful which 2 UVA alumni, Rich Lowry and Rep. Chip Roy, would sojourn the field to sermon the continuing value of Thomas Jefferson—who founded the assemblage successful 1819—in the look of efforts to discredit the 3rd U.S. president arsenic a racist enslaved owner. Lowry is an writer and the exertion of the sentiment mag National Review, and Roy is simply a Republican Congressman representing Texas’s 21st district.

In the days starring up to that event, vandals conducted a campaign of harassment and intimidation, tearing down immoderate of the posters and scrawling anonymous messages connected others, successful 1 lawsuit crossing retired the event’s rubric and penning “Racists Defending Rapists” straight beneath it. Activists besides organized a letter-writing run intended to bombard the UVA medication with letters demanding the cancellation of the event.

The activists enactment up posters of their ain with a QR codification which, erstwhile scanned, generated a template of a missive addressed to the university’s dean of students, reading, successful part, “I americium penning to you arsenic a pupil acrophobic astir the upcoming lawsuit hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom pupil organization. . . . Congressman Chip Roy, 1 of the speakers astatine the event, has a past of making racist remarks publicly. He has besides worked to present authorities preventing American schools from teaching astir the past of racism connected which our state was built.”

The missive goes connected to telephone for the event’s cancellation, stating, “The ‘In Defense of Mr. Jefferson’ Event has already received important backlash connected societal media from angered students. We judge that the lawsuit indirectly defends values of racism and slavery, offending galore UVA students. I inquire that you enactment successful our champion involvement arsenic a pupil assemblage successful efforts to support our assemblage astatine large.”

In this instance, the efforts of the vandals and harassers failed, Cabrera noted.

“The lawsuit itself went great, we had a packed house, each spot was taken and immoderate radical had to basal on the walls. [Lowry and Roy] spoke successful defence of Jefferson, wherefore we support Jefferson and wherefore we should grant his legacy,” Cabrera said.

A Double Standard?

Cabrera and chap members of YAF person had to attack off-campus donor networks to get backing for the events they person sought to host. At the aforesaid time, the assemblage has not hesitated to walk lavishly to lure speakers with left-wing viewpoints, helium said.

On April 21, 2021, nether the auspices of its “Racial Equity Speaker Series,” the assemblage hosted, via Zoom, a virtual talk by Ibram X. Kendi, an writer and agitator who has promoted a presumption of the United States arsenic fundamentally racist and oppressive and has advocated, successful books specified arsenic “How to beryllium an Antiracist,” strategies that Kendi believes achromatic radical should usage to flooded profoundly ingrained habits of thought. Kendi has besides precocious the mentation that policies that neglect to situation racism and inequality straight and consciously lend to those societal problems.

UVA paid Kendi $32,500 for a one-hour speech that did not adjacent necessitate his beingness connected campus, Cabrera said.

“The assemblage volition wage $32,500 to big a captious contention theorist, but erstwhile it comes to hosting a talker we solicited donors to wage for, radical are calling for cancellation of the event,” helium continued.

“I’m each for divers perspectives, the assemblage should big whomever they want, but to talk connected a Zoom telephone to students, it’s rather appalling to maine that this happened. The assemblage would ne'er wage this magnitude of wealth to a conservative, they would ne'er wage Ben Shapiro $32,500 to travel and speak,” Cabrera added.

The Epoch Times has reached retired to UVA for comment.

Michael Washburn


Michael Washburn is simply a New York-based newsman who covers U.S. and China-related topics. He has a inheritance successful ineligible and fiscal journalism, and besides writes astir arts and culture. Additionally, helium is the big of the play podcast Reading the Globe. His books see “The Uprooted and Other Stories,” “When We're Grownups,” and “Stranger, Stranger.”