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UW College Republicans president says liberal students try to eliminate free speech

The University of Washington. (KIRO 7)

Universities and other institutes of education were once known as pillars of free speech and independent thought. However, at the University of Washington, students and visitors with opinions differing from Seattle’s liberal norm are ridiculed, insulted, and even assaulted, according to the UW College Republicans.

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Perhaps no incident better illustrates this than an attack on street preacher Anthony Parish, who stopped by the campus last week as he sometimes does to speak about the resurrection of Jesus.

Parish told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson he was just standing on campus preaching when, “next thing you know, boom, someone hits me from behind.” Upon being hit, Parish dropped the sign he had been holding. One person then grabbed the 12-foot pole that had held the sign up and ran around the yard with it.

A few moments before, UW College Republicans President Chevy Swanson had been walking out of the Husky Union Building when he simultaneously noticed Parish preaching and a student putting on an Antifa mask.

“It dawned on me like, wait a second — you don’t put on those masks unless you’re out to cause trouble,” Swanson said. “And I turn around and I see him tackle the street preacher, and take the metal pole holding up his sign, and run off.” Swanson pulled out his phone to document the incident.

No sooner had Parish gotten the pole back than he returned to where he had been standing to find that a female student had stolen the sign that had become detached from the pole.

“I grab my sign out of her hand, and she dramatically falls to the ground,” he said.

At this point in the video, a man wearing a Steampunk-style top hat and long coat, and speaking with a sometimes-British, sometimes-American accent runs out and begins screaming at Parish to leave the campus.

“They start yelling at him, accusing him of attacking a pregnant woman, when all he did was pull a sign away from someone trying to steal the sign,” Swanson described.

Parish thinks the entire drama of a situation was fabricated to discredit him.

“Next thing you know, I have Willy Wonka and his Oompa-Loompas all over my case, accusing me of assaulting a pregnant girl — so basically they created this scene to try to shut me down through violence without any repercussions,” Parish said. “As you can tell from the video, there’s a lot of bad acting going on.”

In other incidents at UW, Parish said that he has been spat upon and had his property stolen.

“I think they see the street preachers as, kind of, the enemy, the same way that they see the conservatives as the enemy … I don’t think they like people giving their opinions unless it’s them, to be honest, on that campus, from everything I’ve seen,” Swanson said.

Shutting down free speech

The recurring assaults on street preachers are just the tip of the iceberg. In another recent incident documented on video, as the UW College Republicans were busy putting up posters for their upcoming event with conservative activists Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens, they noticed a student watching them intently.

“As soon as we walked away, we turn back, and we see him already taking the posters down,” Swanson said.

In the video, the College Republicans confront the student and ask him why he is crumpling up the posters. He refuses to answer them or engage in a civil political discussion and instead walks away, taking the balled-up posters with him.

“They tear down our posters, they don’t want to have a conversation, they just want to make sure that no one can see what we’re doing,” Swanson said.

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This past weekend, the UW College Republicans planned to get together at Shultzy’s Bar & Grill on the “Ave” to have a drink in celebration of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“A lot of people shared that they’d come and protest us — drinking at a bar, they’d come and protest us,” Swanson said. He noted that protesters went so far as to call Shultzy’s and tell the bar not to let the Republicans in.

On the day of the planned outing, Shultzy’s posted in the event’s Facebook page that it doesn’t “endorse any one religious or political viewpoint” and asked the group to find another venue.

“We were informed that in Seattle, political affiliation is actually a protected class like any other, and that it’s illegal to not serve someone because of their political affiliation,” Swanson explained.

After speaking with their lawyer, the group called Shultzy’s and explained the law — and was promptly hung up on. The College Republicans went to the bar anyway and ordered their drinks hassle-free.

Still, with all of the drama that has occurred this early on, Swanson worries about how the rest of the school year will play out for the UW College Republicans.

“I think this year is going to get worse — the Trump-derangement-syndrome is getting way worse,” he said. “All of this stuff happening in one week — who knows what this year is going to look like?”

Parish agrees with Swanson, and observed that while freedom of speech may be the name of the game for the United States as a whole, on college campuses in this day and age, only one viewpoint is allowed.

“These people hate anyone and everyone who is not in step with their agenda,” Parish said. “These people are off the chain, they will assault anyone who doesn’t agree with them.”

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