“The Democratic Party is the Party of free speech only when it’s the opinion they believe in,” CRNC Chair Chandler Thornton told NTK.
Chandler Thornton, the newly-elected chair of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC), told NTK Network that the CRNC expects anger and violence like what occurred at the University of California, Berkeley, to continue in the coming year.
Thornton told NTK that this backlash against conservative speakers on college campuses, which prompted the Berkeley riots, is “absolutely detrimental to freedom of speech,” and that the CRNC will fight for everyone’s First Amendment rights, regardless of their political party.
“[CRNC] believes that college is a time where young minds are being molded. You go into college not knowing necessarily what you believe in, and you should be challenged in your views, and college students should be exposed to a wide array of view points,” Thornton told NTK. “The message [CRNC] is delivering is that the Republican Party is the party of free speech, we’re the party of tolerance, we’re the party of inclusion, and we will fight for everybody’s right to freedom of speech.”
Thornton then compared the Republican Party’s approach to dealing with this issue to the Democratic Party, which Thornton said, “is the party of free speech, only when it’s the opinion they believe in.”
The CRNC chair also said he anticipated that protests against conservative speakers will turn violent in some instances, similar to what occurred at Berkeley in the spring of 2017 when students protesting conservative speakers turned violent on multiple occasions and caused $100,000 in damages.
“Given the growing trend of intolerance and violent protests on campus in 2017, it’s likely that this behavior will continue this upcoming semester across the country,” Thornton told NTK.
In the spring of 2017 liberal students at Berkeley rioted over scheduled speeches by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and radio host Ann Coulter, which resulted in the school canceling Coulter’s and Yiannopoulos’ speeches.
“It’s important to note that in many cases, criminal acts are being perpetrated by non-students and professional, paid protestors who insert themselves into a demonstration on campus,” Thornton said. “While we expect to see this behavior continue, we remain vigilant and stand united with conservative organizations across the country to protect free speech on campus.”
“We hope there’s not violence,” he added. “We would never encourage or condone any kind of violence.”
The CRNC’s website My Liberal Campus, which launched in 2014, is a resource that Thornton hopes College Republicans and conservatives on college campuses will use this fall to raise awareness about the liberal bias among professors and students that exists on college campuses.
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