DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — A right-wing student-organized event at UC Davis was canceled after a fight happened outside of the venue, according to a statement by the university.
The event, featuring Stephen Davis, was organized by the Turning Point USA chapter at UC Davis. Before Davis was supposed to speak, a fight happened between about 100 protesters and counter protesters, some of who reportedly wore Proud Boys apparel, according to the university.
Turning Point USA is an organization that advocates for conservatism on college campuses. The organization’s founder Charlie Kirk, a conservative commentator, retweeted a thread from the organization’s main Twitter account Wednesday morning.
“Rather than risk any further escalation of violence, our TPUSA chapter leadership decided to cancel the event when it became apparent campus PD was unable to disperse the violent agitators outside while also keeping our students safe inside,” the organization tweeted in the thread.
During the fight, university officials said some in the crowd allegedly used pepper spray, knocked over barricades, and removed traffic cones.
Some in the brawl allegedly used barricades to beat on the glass of the UC Davis Conference Center, where 30 people were inside waiting for the event to begin.
According to officials, campus police were not deployed, the security staff was inside and outside of the event, and no one from the university staff used pepper spray. Staff from the UC Davis Student Affairs office were also inside and outside the event.
Prior to the event, officials said they worked with students to “create a secure environment” for those attending the event and those who were protesting the speaker. The university said Student Affairs staff were at the event to “provide education about student expression and to encourage respectful and productive dialogue.”
“Some witnesses reported antifa contributed to the fighting and pepper spraying, as well,” the university said in its statement.
Staff from the university student affairs at the event said there would be “grave danger” if the event continued, according to officials.
The university said the event was canceled after the students who organized it agreed to cancel it “out of concern for safety.” After the event was canceled, the Student Affairs staff evacuated the students and Davis from the building.
“It is unfortunate that the event could not proceed as planned,” the university said. “As a public institution, UC Davis values and supports freedom of expression as rights guaranteed to every citizen.”
In its statement, UC Davis officials said “hateful words are protected by the First Amendment,” but condemn violence to others.
“As a public university, we are committed to the first amendment, and we are required to uphold it,” the university said. “We affirm the right of our student — in this instance, Turning Point USA at UC Davis — to invite speakers to our campus, just as we affirm the right to others to protest speakers whose views they find upsetting or offensive.”