University of Arizona President Robert Robbins announced on March 29 that two students would be charged with misdemeanors for protesting a Customs and Border Protection campus event put on by the Criminal Justice Association on March 19.
Video of the incident shows two Border Patrol agents giving a presentation and leaving a classroom while students chanted “Murder Patrol,” “murderers” and “an extension of the KKK,” notes the Arizona Republic.
Robbins said the students’ protest represented a “dramatic departure from our expectations of respectful behavior and support for free speech on this campus.”
UA campus police determined they “will be charging” the two students with “interference with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution,” a misdemeanor that could result in up to six months of jail time.
Robbins said that UA police will continue to investigate for potential “additional criminal violations,” and the university would conduct a “probe into actions involving UA employees.”
After criminalizing free speech, Robbins claimed the college supported free speech: “At the core of these inquiries is the University of Arizona’s commitment to free speech. The student club and the CBP officers invited by the students should have been able to hold their meeting without disruption. Student protest is protected by our support for free speech, but disruption is not.”
However, top officers from the school’s student government organization, wrote a letter that said unannounced visits to campus by Border Patrol were “unacceptable.”
DACA recipients, who attend UA, also released a letter that said they face “discomfort and fear” when they see Customs and Border Protection agents.
The DACA recipients wrote that they are in “full support” of students who were criminally charged.
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