Two students at the University of Arizona will be charged with misdemeanors for participating in a protest against a Border Patrol presentation held on campus last month, according to AZ Central. The Border Patrol officers were at the university to give a talk to a student club, the Criminal Justice Association.
In a video of the incident, the protesters can be heard yelling at the door of the presentation calling Border Patrol “Murder Patrol,” “murderers” and “an extension of the KKK.” When the officers left the room, the protesters continued to follow them, chanting “Murder Patrol.”
Video of the incident was widely shared by conservative outlets as proof that the left stifles free speech on college campuses. Now, ironically, these students will reportedly be criminally charged for using their own freedom of speech.
A letter posted online by UA president Robert Robbins called the demonstration a “dramatic departure from our expectations of respectful behavior and support for free speech on this campus.”
Robbins said that police were charging the protesters with “interference with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution.”
“The UA Police Department will continue to investigate the incident for additional criminal violations, and the Office of the Dean of Students is reviewing potential violations of the student code of conduct. There also will be a probe into actions involving UA employees,” Robbins added.
UA Police Chief Brian Seastone told AZ Central that charges against the students haven’t been filed yet.
Students from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona published a letter last month in response to the event, calling the unannounced Border Patrol visit “unacceptable.” Their letter pointed to the fear experienced by undocumented students, and asked that the community be informed in advance if Border Patrol officers were visiting campus.
Another letter, written by DACA recipients at UA, elaborated on the fears of undocumented students in the presence of Border Patrol.
“As DACA recipients at the university, the presence of CBP on campus has a traumatic impact on our overall well being and impedes us from fully engaging with our academics. In a space where all students are given the right to pursue an education, their presence was and will always be an infringement on that right,” they wrote.
The DACA recipients also wrote that since the release of the video, they have been “bombarded with threats to their physical and emotional well being.”