‘We can see your racist side’: Students protest self-proclaimed British nationalist Katie Hopkins

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Photo Credit: Elias Huerta

Update (Wednesday 2:24 p.m.): Four people were removed from the area by police before and after Hopkins’ speech Tuesday night, said UTPD spokesperson Noelle Newton.

Prior to the event, one student was escorted away by police for making an aggressive movement toward Hopkins and a non-UT student was issued a criminal trespass warning.

After the event, a non-UT student was arrested for throwing liquid on an officer and a UT student was arrested for hindering arrest after trying to interfere with the arrest.

In regard to the protest, UT spokesman J.B. Bird said in an emailed statement “most students observed our institutional rules yesterday, expressing their opinions strongly but peacefully.”

“As Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement Leonard Moore recently wrote, ‘The University of Texas at Austin is a place for dialogue, and at times there will be views expressed that some may disagree with. All members of our community deserve to be treated with respect and dignity,’” Bird said in his statement.

Original story: Chanting voices, stomping and bullhorn alarms echoed through the basement of Patton Hall as students protested Katie Hopkins, a highly controversial British media commentator who was invited to speak on campus Tuesday by conservative UT organization Turning Point USA Chapter.

“Katie Hopkins, you can’t hide,” protesters chanted. “We can see your racist side.”

Around 30 students rallied outside the classroom where Hopkins spoke. As a self-proclaimed nationalist, Hopkins is known for making racist comments and is also called a conspiracy theorist because of her belief that Muslim immigration is intended to replace white citizens in Europe.

Hopkins spoke mainly about Muslims in Europe, at one point calling immigrants “feral human beings that don’t deserve human rights,” which received an applause from the audience of around 30.

“They have no place in my country, certainly no place in Europe,” Hopkins said. “I will not retract any of those points nor will I apologize for them.”

Police were stationed inside and outside the classroom. One protester inside was removed for playing loud music at the beginning of the speech.

Nikola Skerl, an international relations and global studies freshman, said he attended Hopkin’s speech despite disagreeing with her because he wanted to hear what she said. However, he said he could not hear Hopkins half of the time because of the protest.

“The only reason people like Katie Hopkins comes is to incite stuff like this,” Skerl said. “At the end of the day, it just feeds into itself and makes it worse. You can just hear her saying, ‘Listen to the people shouting outside, they’re just making voices like me louder.’”

The protest was organized by Autonomous Student Network at UT-Austin, an anti-fascist student revolutionary organization. The organization posted a call to action on their blog and on social media for a protest against Hopkins.

After the speech concluded, police escorted Hopkins out and guarded students exiting the classroom from protestors, who yelled at audience members as they exited. 

Neuroscience sophomore Gulraiz Ali said he joined the protest after seeing posters for it around campus.

“She shouldn’t be given a platform,” Ali said. “Whenever we give them a platform, we make their views more mainstream. There’s no place for racism, not on my campus.”