Campus police officers arrested a protester for harassment and disorderly conduct during Riley Gaines’ appearance at the University of Buffalo (UB) on Apr. 13.
As Gaines made her case for protecting women’s sports, staff members from the Leadership Institute (LI), the sponsoring organization, photographed protesters outside of the venue. Sofie Salmon, Deputy Director of LI Studios, is pressing charges against the protester who shoved her camera.
Leadership Institute is the parent organization of Campus Reform.
Organizations including a Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapter advertised the protest ahead of Gaines’ appearance and asked students to sign a petition demanding that UB “stand up for its LGBTQ+ community.”
Sarah Clark, LI’s Campus Events Coordinator, told Campus Reform that 25 to 30 people gathered to protest Gaines, a former collegiate swimmer and outspoken critic of biological men in women’s sports. A Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter hosted the event sponsored by LI, the parent organization of Campus Reform.
Salmon said that one protester “tried to block [her] camera with his poster” and shoved it into her lens. She “stumbled back” and was immediately assisted by University Police while Clark and another LI staff member pursued the protester.
In a video obtained by Campus Reform, LI staff run to the parking lot where police shine flashlights on the protester, who has his hands in the air and is wearing a cloth mask and sunglasses. An onlooker tells him, “We’re here in solidarity with you.”
Police officers then handcuffed the protester and escort him to one of their vehicles.
In a statement to Campus Reform, John Della Contrada, UB’s Vice President for Communications, writes that “University Police arrested a 22-year-old female from Buffalo Thursday evening for harassment and disorderly conduct.”
“The individual has no affiliation [with] UB,” he continues. “She was released with an appearance ticket.”
Della Contrada says that “[t]here was only one person arrested,” which suggests that the protester might identify as a transgender woman.
Clark described the security for the event held just one week after protesters at San Francisco State University swarmed Gaines and left her trapped in the green room for nearly three hours. UB protesters were sectioned off with bike racks outside of the venue. With Gaines’ personal security and University Police, Clark estimates that there was nearly as many security personnel as there were protesters.
“In the event itself, there were no disruptions,” even though “there were definitely people in the crowd who were watching and … didn’t agree with her,” Clark told Campus Reform. “The ones who wanted to be vile were outside.”
Campus Reform will continue to report the developing story of Riley Gaines’ event at the University of Buffalo. All relevant parties listed have been contacted for comment, and this article will be updated accordingly.
Republished with permission from Campus Reform