On Feb. 29, 2016, Donald Trump reportedly requested that officers eject 30 black students from a rally held at their university. Georgia’s Valdosta State University (VSU) in Valdosta, Ga., was hosting a rally the day before Super Tuesday, and after Trump refused to acknowledge a Ku Klux Klan leader.
Prior to the start of the rally, these VSU students were escorted out by law enforcement. While the ejection of protestors is not uncommon for these events, the 30 ejected students made up the largest group that has been released from Trump’s rallies thus far. Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks, denied that the removal of these students was his request.
The students stated that they gathered at Monday’s rally with no intentions of causing harm or trouble. According to one of the students who was ejected from the Trump rally, the group was taken down a flight of stairs and forced out of the building. One of the students continuously asked questions about why they had to leave and was told the officers would answer their questions outside. Eventually, the officers stated it was a private event, despite the 30 students having tickets to the rally.
The officers then told them the Secret Service requested their removal because Trump stated he did not “want [them] there.” The Secret Service has the authority to dismiss protestors, only if they feel that their protectee is threatened. They do not participate in removing protestors, though, they assist in monitoring the events. According to CNN, a Secret Service agent stated that law enforcement officers and members of the host committee requested to have the group of students removed from the event.
Mike Sanders, a VSU student, reported to BBC that many of his classmates were confused and cried because of the alleged act of discrimination. He also stated that it was traumatizing. Sanders captured the incident on his cell phone and posted the video on the internet, like other students who turn to social media to broadcast their experience. Tahjila Davis, another VSU student stated, she “paid [her] tuition to be there,” and that she has “not experienced racism” at her campus before Trump’s rally.
Earlier that day, another group of students was ejected from a Trump rally at Virginia’s Radford University. The students chanted “No more hate!” and “Let’s be equal!”
An altercation between a Time Magazine photographer Chris Morris, and a Secret Service agent was caught on camera when the agent threw the photographer to the ground. The agent was recorded with his hands on the photographer’s neck. According to the video, the photographer was screaming at the agent after he attempted to move to a position more accessible to him and his camera. Morris tried to exit the area specified for media personnel but was stopped by the Secret Service agent. The photographer was allegedly attempting to photograph the #BlackLivesMatter protesters at the rally.
Super Tuesday is scheduled for March 1, 2016. Primary contests will be held in Arkansas, Alabama, Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Vermont, Texas and Virginia. There will be caucuses held in Alaska, North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota, and American Samoa.
Currently, Hilary Clinton is leading the Democratic nomination and is ahead of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, by 20 points. Trump is ahead of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, in the Republican nomination. Trump is ahead of Rubio by 13 points.
By Tricia Manalansan
BBC News: Donald Trump rally police ‘ejected’ black students
CNN: Valdosta State University Black students escorted out of Trump rally
USA Today: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump lead in Virginia ahead of Super Tuesday
Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License