Fordham University in New York City is investigating after a campus coffee shop volunteer was caught on video telling a group of College Republicans to remove their pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” hats or leave.
The video obtained by Campus Reform showed a woman claiming to be the president of Rodrigue’s Coffee House, a student-run campus coffee shop, telling a group of College Republicans that their hats violated the club’s “safe space” policy and they had five minutes to leave.
“I am protecting my customers,” the woman yelled in the video.
The students reminded the woman that they, too, were paying customers, to which she responded, “I don’t want people like you supporting this club. No one here wants people like you supporting our club.”
“I’m giving you four minutes now,” she continued. “Please pack your stuff up and go. Thank you very much. Very soon it will be three minutes.”
The woman then told the students that their hats represented “fascism” and “Nazis,” which violated the coffee shop’s safe space policy. She was also seen trying to yank a hat out of one of the students’ hands.
“You are threatening the integrity of our club!” she said. “This is a community standard — you are wearing hats that completely violate our safe-space policy. You have to take it off or you have to go.”
According to Rodrigue’s Facebook page, the coffee shop welcomes diversity and encourages “all those participating in the Rodrigue’s community to express themselves creatively and respectfully.
“As such, we urge everyone in the space to be aware of their own identity, and considerate of the personhood of their peers,” the shop states.
The shop also explicitly bans “racism, “sexism” and “homophobia.”
A member of the College Republicans told Campus Reform that they went to Rodrigue’s specifically to “test the unwritten rule” that conservatives were supposedly banned there.
“We went there and just started doing some homework and studying. Then we were asked to leave,” he said. “We are tuition-paying students, therefore we should be able to use any building on campus that we want. … This school is over $70,000 a year in tuition, therefore I feel that I have the right to go into all of the buildings that other students are allowed to go into. I also have the right to wear what I want to wear and express my own political views.”
Fordham University issued a statement to The Hill over the weekend saying it was still determining whether any policies were violated during the incident.
“There is no University safe space policy, nor one that excludes any members of the Fordham community from any public spaces on the basis of their political views. Fordham is a community that values diverse opinions, and in which students should disagree with one another in a civil fashion,” said Fordham assistant vice president Bob Howe. “The University is still investigating the incident, and students who may have violated the University code of conduct will be met with the appropriate student conduct process.”
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