Therese Purcell, president of the Young Americans for Freedom, wanted to bring an open dialogue about racism to the University of Buffalo’s campus. Instead of open dialogue, she was hunted down by fellow students screaming, ‘no justice, no peace.’
Purcell invited black Republican Lt. Col. Allen West to speak on campus about how he overcame racism in his own life.
Allen West, a 61-year-old retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, and former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, believes that he should be able to share his opinions on race and American exceptionalism given his background of being born in a hospital that was segregated, coupled with growing up in the Atlanta hoods.
Purcell said in an interview with Fox News that there were hundreds of people that had shown up for West’s speech. She said that hundreds more were in a standby line and could not get into the venue.
Purcell says that after the speech, the protestors started banging on the walls and screaming, ‘no peace, no peace.’
“I took them at face value,” Purcell says. “They were trying to disrupt the meeting. It got crazy as we were going to leave.”
“I was following Mr. West out as they were screaming at us and I was separated from the police, they were protecting Colonel West.”
“I decided to turn and walk peacefully back to my car and realized I was the target for the protestors and 200 fellow students started hunting me down, screaming, yelling, “Go capture her, the girl in the red dress.”
After successfully dodging the mob, Ms. Purcell heard them outside her hiding spot. “Where is she,” Therese heard them screaming. From there, she phoned 911.
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She says that the mob continued to chase down other Young Americans For Freedom members, assaulting at least one young man by kicking and punching him.
The protests were brought on because those involved didn’t agree with a black man’s optimism about black people’s potential in America. West points out that he thinks that the young protestors would rather have a victim mentality than try to work at things the right way.
West gave an interview with Fox News.
“My elementary school was right across the street from Ebenezer Baptist Church. So if you want to talk about race and American exceptionalism, why shouldn’t a black man that was born 61 years ago in a blacks-only hospital, that rose through the ranks to become a lieutenant colonel when his dad was a corporal in the segregated Army, became a member of the United States House of Representatives. But these kids want to be victims. They don’t want to hear that. They’re very militant, they’re very radical, and I’m glad that we exposed them.”
The University at Buffalo released a statement after the incident.
The University at Buffalo is deeply committed to being a safe and welcoming place for all people, and a place where freedom of expression occurs without threats and in a respectful and civil manner.
The university is conducting a thorough review of events and activities leading up to, during and after an appearance by former congressman and retired Army Lt. Col. Allen West, including the posting of anonymous social media messages threatening students protesting West’s speech and harassment of students after the speech.
‘These events do not define who we as a university are, nor do they define who we aspire to be,’ said Barbara Ricotta, UB’s dean of students. ‘As a university community, we will continue to strive to be a place where all students can express themselves, be heard and live their lives in a welcoming and safe environment that values diversity and inclusion.’
As a public university, all members of the UB community and invited guests have a right to peacefully express their views and opinions, regardless of whether others may disagree.
This includes the right of individuals to oppose the views or opinions of others – including peaceful protests – but not in such a way as to limit or prevent the speaker’s freedom of expression or interfere with university operations.
West was invited to campus by the UB student chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom. Student government-sponsored clubs are permitted to invite speakers to campus, provided they abide by university guidelines and state laws concerning public events on campus.