Rutgers students ‘don’t need no facts’ to heckle speaker
A Rutgers University student declared “I don’t need no facts!” while others heckled a black speaker at a panel on identity politics last week.
“Identity politics: the new racialism on campus?” was the latest installment in Spiked’s “Unsafe Spaces” tour, featuring speakers with a range of views who explored whether “student activists” are “re-racializing campus life.”
Spiked describes the tour as a response to “an unholy alliance between a self-raised army of student offence-takers” and “busybody bureaucrats willing to ban a speaker or snuff out inconvenient thought as soon as someone cries ‘bigot.’”
After American University forced the tour’s first stop off campus, organizers lamented the lost opportunity for dissenting students to engage with diverse viewpoints and ask the panelists challenging questions.
The latest Rutgers panel, which featured libertarian media producer Kmele Foster, liberal activist and founder of Ex-Muslims of North America Sarah Haide, Columbia University Humanities Professor Mark Lillia, and student activist Bryan Stascavage, was promptly disrupted during the question and answer portion of the event.
“We’re gonna stop this little rhetoric,” one protester said as he cut off the first student who attempted to ask a question, though host Tom Slater reminded the student he could have a turn to speak later.
“You love free speech, right?” the student fired back, to which Slater replied by stating that ”means allowing everyone to speak, not just yourself.”
“As a black man…how do you deracialize yourself?” the protester then asked Foster, though he was interrupted as a group of audience members began chants of “black lives matter!” while Foster rhetorically inquired if “anyone disagreed with that principle.”
Another woman yelled in response to the panelists that she doesn’t “need statistics,” later complaining that “the system” controls facts.
“It’s the system. It’s the institution,” she said. “Don’t tell me about facts. I don’t need no facts.”
Rutgers student Giana Castelli told Campus Reform that the protesters, who continued to shout periodically until the end of the event, were “from Black Lives Matter and Rutgers One,” a student activist organization.
Protesters approached Foster after the event concluded, and after things grew tense, police feared for his safety and escorted him out of the building.
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