Tom Tancredo cut short a planned speech on immigration at the University of North Carolina on Tuesday after a group of protesters sparked what the former congressman has described as a "small riot."
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Tancredo's appearance, at the invitation of a student organization called Youth for Western Civilization, was greeted with boos and hisses that quickly escalated into shouts of "No Dialogue with Hate." Although the no-dialoguers were soon hustled out of the packed auditorium by campus police, things then got ugly in the hallway. Tancredo's critics refused to leave the area; police used mace and discharged a taser.
Of even greater interest, though, is the YouTube video above, which captures the shoutdown in the auditorium that preceded the melee outside. Check out the minority students who are rolling their eyes and seem quite startled and appalled by the white kids screaming about racism and fascism. According to accounts of the incident, several students, including leaders of a local Hispanic group that opposes Tancredo's proposed crackdown on illegal immigration, urged the protestors to shut up and let the man speak, to no avail -- and many can be seen applauding in the video when the protesters are ejected.
In the end, though, the protesters won -- to the acute embarrassment of campus officials, who issued an apology of sorts to Tancredo and the group that invited him. There may not be a lot of substantive activism on college campuses these days, but speech is still cheap, if not free. Especially if you can scream louder than the other guy.