Anti-Trump students harassed and threatened students belonging to a Republican group at the University of California, Riverside for wearing pro-Donald Trump "Make America Great Again" hats as well as for holding a #MAGA Monday event on campus last week.
The students, part of a group called College Republicans at UCR, celebrated last week's #MAGA Monday and shared a photo of the event on the group's Facebook page.
The anti-Trump students began threatening and harassing the College Republicans almost immediately after the group shared their photo on Facebook.
Why did the College Republicans group hold the event?
According to Campus Reform, the #MAGA Monday event was a response to an on-campus incident in September when student Matthew Vitale — one of the College Republicans — received criticism and insults for wearing a MAGA hat. An angry student reportedly stole the MAGA hat and made statements that the hat represented genocide. The hat thief even appealed to school administrators in an attempt to have the hats banned from being worn on campus.
Administrators eventually returned the hat to its owner.
Vitale told Campus Reform that the September incident prompted the group to demonstrate.
"Our club has been relatively quiet until that incident showed us just how desperately UCR needs free speech," Vitale said. "Ideally, free speech should be what Americans can rally around regardless of political ideology."
Vitale told the website that many students "don't believe in free speech," and as a result, "want to silence people just because their feelings are hurt."
What kind of harassment and threats did the students receive?
- One student, identified by Campus Reform as the former assistant news editor for the school’s newspaper, wrote on Facebook, "Whats [sic] the difference between nazi [sic] armbands and those MAGA hats? Asking for a friend."
- A young woman on Twitter wrote, "The republican [sic] group on campus really has the audacity to wear their MAGA hats right in the middle of campus."
- Another added that if the group were "alone," they would not wear the hats.
- One social media user even threatened violence against the group, simply on the grounds of the hats. The user wrote, "[L]et me see onE [sic] MORE PERSON WEARING A MAGA HAT ON CAMPUS SOMEONE IS GONNA GET SMACKED."
- Another student threatened violence in a profanity-laced tweet and wrote, "Just saw some sick f*** wearing a MAGA hat and shirt on campus lmao y'all don't f***ing learn do you. YOU GO TO UCR B***** ACT RIGHT. lmao I was about to be late to class and honestly I'm not tryna get kicked out for beating up a wack b****."
- One user went as far as to say that the group didn't even belong on campus. She wrote, "The people with maga hats promoting their club on campus need to go...disgusting."
The republican group on campus really has the audacity to wear their MAGA hats right in the middle of campus....
— Margarita (@Margarita4Everr) October 16, 2017
Exactly. If they were alone they wouldn't wear them. Why do you think you haven't seen them around until now in a stand as a group lol
— Vanessa Ayon ʢ•ꇵ͡•ʡ (@princessprmrosa) October 16, 2017
s2gOT let me see onE MORE PERSON WEARING A MAGA HAT ON CAMPUS SOMEONE IS GONNA GET SMACKED
— michel (@sadbunz) October 16, 2017
The people with maga hats promoting their club on campus need to go...disgusting
— cheesi (@typicaljessica) October 16, 2017