Tensions continue to rise on campus, Chico State prepares


An officer watching the crowd as they get allowed into the event. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

After an eventful week of protest against the College Republicans, Chico State took precactionary measures to ensure that everybody stayed safe.

While the Walk Away campaign was going on inside the Bell Memorial Union by the Chico State College Republicans featuring Brandan Straka and Youtuber Blair White, students outside were waiting in front of a gated area from the BMU.

Nearly every entrance into the BMU was sealed off with police or personal working to keep the event at peace.

The past week has seen three assaults on campus to the Chico State Republicans after protests began to start in front of the College Republicans table.

Chico State came prepared this time, bringing eight police officers and over 25 faculty members watching the event to prevent any flights from breaking out.

Outside of the gates near the Wildcat statue was a long line waiting to get in. Beside that line were a group of protesters holding up signs and playing loud music.

Protestors stood outside the gate for hours even after a majority of the audience had entered the event. Once the event reached full capacity the remaining attendees unable to enter remained outside.

After a couple minutes, protesters began asking questions to a man, surrounding him in a large circle.

The man was made fun of for his clothing, smell and political beliefs. Once in a while a civil discussion would happen between the protesters and individual, at least before someone made a comment and the entire crowd would begin to laugh.

That individual did not want to comment.

Soon the protesters played the song “FDT,” in response one man began to dance to the music while a protester jokingly tossed bills at him.

Things remained quiet for the most part until a family of black Trump supporters came outside and were criticized for being black Trump supporters. They would continue to receive verbal harassment from protesters and nearly engaged in a fight, faculty kept the opposing parties from fighting and the family headed home.

“As a campus we need to find ways and talk about ways we can interact and talk civilly about these differences that we have,” University Police Chief John Reid said.

This was the first time Chico State has needed this kind of barricade and protection for an event like this. According to Reid, issues begin when protesters begin encountering counter protesters causing tension between the two groups. The inside of the BMU remained fairly unaffected due to the event being a ticketed one.

Outside of violent verbal exchanges, no altercations occurred.

“I think for the most part, it was good. I think there were a few, I would say one specific incident where community members not necessarily affiliated with Chico State came on,” Krystal Tonga Assistant Director of the Cross Cultural Leadership Center said. “I think there was some provocation that occurred and because they were kids around teenagers they were protective of their mom.”

Tonga has been working at keeping the crowds at peace with each other, helping protesters calm down and use their voices to protest instead of resorting to violence. She has done this for multiple days now.

Once the event was over, the protesters left the grounds and things returned to normal.

Julian Mendoza can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JulianMTheOrion.