The Columbia University College Republicans are being investigated by the university for discrimination and harassment.
Their alleged crime? Inviting offensive speakers to campus.
How we got here
The College Republicans have been hosting a weekly speaker series. A few of the recent speakers, namely Mike Cernovich and Tommy Robinson, have upset students due to their controversial views.
Columbia’s Black Students’ Organization created a petition to get the College Republicans defunded, saying the speakers “pose a literal threat” to minority groups.
The petition didn’t work, but Columbia’s student government did vote to file a discrimination and harassment report against the College Republicans, leading to the university investigation.
College Republicans respond
College Republicans president Ari Boosalis balked at the idea that his organization was being investigated for a “thought-crime” and said he is confident the group will be cleared.
“This is a direct attack on our existence,” Boosalis told Campus Reform. “They’re doing it because we think differently.
“They want to silence the speech of anyone who’s Christian, conservative, who believes in free market values.”
The College Republicans plan to continue the speaker series while the matter is investigated by the Student Conduct Office.
Upcoming speakers include Jack Abramoff, Dennis Prager and Adam Corolla.
No punishment for protests
Students disrupted and protested the event where Tommy Robinson spoke, blocking entrances and causing such chaos once they got inside that the speech was ultimately derailed.
Robinson was speaking via Skype video conference, and pivoted from a speech to a Q&A in response to the disruptions.
Columbia was investigating 16 students involved in the protests, but after pushback from faculty, the investigation was dropped and the students will face no punishment.
Here's a video of the protest: