The Princeton Review ranks Brigham Young University as the No. 3 most conservative college in the country. In 2004, just 11 percent of voters in Provo, UT, where BYU is based, voted for President Bush’s opponent Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).
But yesterday, hundreds of students protested BYU’s decision to invite Vice President Cheney to deliver the school’s commencement address. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
More than 200 students attended the College Democrats’ protest, a sit-in next to the campus library with no shouting allowed.
“As much as I’m opposed to Cheney and enjoy demonstrating against his politics, this is a really good chance to show the political diversity of BYU,” said Philip Erickson, a sophomore studying international relations.
But not everyone at the protest was a Democrat. Heather Marsh, a freshman studying neuroscience, held a sign stating, “Republican against Cheney.”
Nearby, a group of Cheney supporters “passed out brownies and asked students to sign a letter thanking the vice president.” Watch a short video clip:
The protests seem to go off without a hitch until things started winding down. NPR left. The local TV news cameras left. The newspaper reporters packed their things and left. And the only people around to document anything were students and our film crew. Our cameras kept rolling to witness what happened next.
As soon as 1:00 hit and the time for free speech expired, after an impromptu performance of the Star Spangled Banner by the BYU Democrats, men from BYU dressed in suits and sunglasses with Secret Service-style earpieces roughly rounded up all of the signage and banners. “You’ll be able to use it all again. We’re just going to keep it for you. So you don’t carry it around campus, we’ll take it to a safe place until the next designated protest.”
It was like Daddy deciding that the kids had had enough play time and was taking their toys away.
More local accounts HERE.