Lucian Wintrich, White House correspondent for The Gateway Pundit, was arrested on Tuesday evening at lecture hall at the University of Connecticut. He was arrested after a fight broke out during his speech titled "It's OK to Be White." The event was sponsored by the College Republicans on campus, which was constantly interrupted by audience members booing and chanting.    

In online videos, two members of the audience can be seen approaching Wintrich's lectern. A woman is seen seizing a paper from the lectern and then start to leave. Wintrich followed her and grabbed her from behind, apparently trying to retrieve the paper. When a commotion ensued that involved Wintrich and several audience members, campus police intervened and took Wintrich to a restroom. 

Windows in the area were subsequently shattered, and an apparent smoke bomb detonated outside the lecture hall. Police are investigating. Waiting outside for Wintrich were about 100 students. He was taken through the back of the hall and put in a police vehicle, which students chased.

According to UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz, Wintrich was arrested and charged. "UConn police are also investigating an incident in which someone broke a window in the lecture hall as the crowd was leaving and threw a smoke bomb inside," Reitz said. "This led to speculation as to whether police had discharged tear gas, but that was not accurate. No tear gas was used or needed.” She said that one student was charged with breach of peace and criminal mischief for allegedly breaking a window. Reitz said that the student is not being charged for a smoke bomb that was thrown into the lecture hall at one point. 

Police continue to investigate, and are reviewing videos to determine whether other charges or arrests may be coming. 

Early on Wednesday, Wintrich tweeted: "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 added, "Tonight proved my point."

UConn President Susan Herbst called it "a very disappointing evening." She added, "We live in a tense and angry time of deep political division. Our hope as educators is that creative leadership and intellectual energy can be an antidote to that sickness, especially on university campuses." Herbst said, "Between the offensive remarks by the speaker who also appeared to aggressively grab an audience member and the reckless vandalism that followed, that was certainly not the case on our campus tonight. We are better than this."

In an advance of the lecture, posters announcing the event were vandalized or torn down. A similar event, scheduled for the University of Massachusetts-Boston, has been postponed until February due to safety concerns.

At the University of Michigan, students are rallying to prevent controversial speaker Richard Spencer from appearing on campus. The campus newspaper, Michigan Daily, interview UM President Mark Schlissel about the issue. He said that a meeting of university regents last week focused on the safety of the speaker, students, protesters, and the wider community of Ann Arbor. 

Schlissel said that there are negotiations underway over Spencer’s request to appear on campus. When The Michigan Daily asked him to cite a timeline and identify participants in the negotiations, Schlissel said: 

“I don’t know, I don’t want to prejudice them. I want to make clear again, I have no particular interest in hearing this person speak and I have no particular interest in having this person come to the University of Michigan. The idea is that he’s made a request to rent a room, and we’re obligated to consider that request without consideration of what he wants to talk about so with that in mind, as I’ve said publicly, we’re certainly allowed to put restrictions on the time, place and manner of speech to maintain the safety of our community and to minimize the disruption to our mission, and that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Schlissel went on to say:

“One thing I’m really concerned about is students are protesting this decision to determine whether we can move forward in a safe fashion, and some people have called for a boycott of classes. One thing I’m very worried about is by expressing the way we feel about this person, we may be inadvertently playing into his hands and giving him material he can use for fundraising and giving him the sense of power that none of us think he deserves, (that) I certainly don’t think he deserves. So I have this picture of this person sitting in a room somewhere laughing at us. Laughing at us because his asking to rent a room and come and say words are enough to have people decide they don’t want to go to class on Thursday, and I fear that we’re giving this man too much power over us.”
 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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