Last night, students here at UConn saw just how powerful the passions of opposing viewpoints can be. Lucian Wintrich, the White House correspondent for the Gateway Pundit, was scheduled to speak regarding “identity politics, liberal victimhood, anti-conservative bias and other hot-button issues.” The title of the event, “It Is OK To Be White”, did not accurately portray these topics and rightfully sparked controversy on campus. The UConn College Republicans did not title this speech and, of course, had no intention of igniting the violence that occurred.
About 40 minutes into the event, a male and female student approached the podium, seemed to talk to Wintrich, and then the female student appeared to have taken some pieces of paper containing Wintrich’s speech. As she was walking away, Wintrich stalked after her and seemingly grabbed her violently, pulling her into a headlock to try and retrieve the paper. UConn Police officers were quick to apprehend and arrest him.
While Wintrich absolutely has a right to voice his own opinions and viewpoints, he did not, however, have the right to assault someone physically, whether or not she took his speech. This is never acceptable, no matter what the circumstances may have been. If he had allowed the police in attendance to do their jobs and retain the items calmly, many things could have been avoided, including the protests that happened in the speech’s aftermath.
The videos alone are shocking and, after speaking to some in attendance, it is easy to understand the magnitude of the events that occurred. The Hartford Courant reports that Wintrich was, in fact, charged with breach of peace and has since been released on $1,000 bail. A student who allegedly broke a window was also charged with breach of peace as well as criminal mischief.
“It’s really unfortunate that some of the kids at @UConn felt the need to be violent and disruptive during a speech that focused on how the leftist media is turning Americans against each other,” Wintrich wrote on Twitter early Wednesday after being released from police custody. “Tonight proved my point.”
President Herbst called it “a very disappointing evening,” before going on to say that “we are better than this.”
This is a campus that prides itself on the equality and mutual respect of all students. We saw last night just how far that can be stretched. Unfortunately, these divided times have reached us and that was exemplified last night. Whether you agree with Wintrich’s controversial viewpoints or not, it is important that we all (attempt) to keep open minds in order to avoid violent incidents like this happening once again. At the end of the day, we are all Huskies.