This story has been updated: STORRS, Conn. — An ultra-conservative commentator was arrested and charged with breach of peace after a fight broke out at his speech — titled "It's OK To Be White" — at the University of Connecticut in Storrs on Tuesday night, according to a UConn spokeswoman.
The speech by Lucian Wintrich, the White House correspondent for The Gateway Pundit website, was sponsored by the UConn College Republicans.
On its Facebook page, the student group said that Wintrich would “discuss identity politics, liberal victimhood, anti-conservative bias and other hot-button issues.”
Much of the Tuesday evening event was caught on camera. Social media posts show that Wintrich, 29, sparred with students as his speech was interrupted by chants such as "Go Home Nazi" and "Black Lives Matter."
In video shot during the speech, which is posted at the UConn College Republicans Facebook page, Wintrich is seen going after a woman who took something off his podium, grabbing her as she walked away. Several others join the fray, and UConn police lead Wintrich away.
"Mr. Wintrich was taken into UConn Police custody shortly before 9 p.m. when he was involved in an altercation with a guest at the speech," UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said in a statement.
Video of the altercation shows that a woman appeared to remove paperwork from the lectern where Wintrich was speaking, and that he followed the woman into the audience, where the altercation occurred, Reitz said.
No injuries were reported, she said.
Social media showed a chaotic scene on campus, with a crowd gathered outside the building.
A student was charged with breach of peace and criminal mischief for allegedly breaking a window as people were leaving the event, Reitz said.
That student was not charged in connection with a smoke bomb that was thrown inside the building, and that remains under investigation, she said.
"This led to speculation as to whether police had discharged tear gas, but that was not accurate — no tear gas was used or needed," Reitz said.
Even before the event, the UConn College Republicans said fliers had been pulled down and defaced. The crowd interrupted Wintrich's speech repeatedly, according to multiple social media posts, and debate was heated in all directions.
"It's really unfortunate that some of the kids at @UConn felt the need to be violent and disruptive during a speech that focused on how the leftist media is turning Americans against each other. Tonight proved my point," Wintrich said via Twitter at @lucianwintrich.
The UConn College Republicans posted a video of the incident on their Facebook page. Click here to view.
"UConn does not bar speakers on the basis of content. Free speech, like academic freedom, is one of the university's bedrock principles," Reitz said.
University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst released a statement late Tuesday.
“This was a very disappointing evening. Thoughtful, civil discourse should be a hallmark of democratic societies and American universities, and this evening fell well short of that," Herbst said.
"We live in a tense and angry time of deep political division. Our hope as educators is that creative leadership and intellectual energy can be an antidote to that sickness, especially on university campuses. Between the offensive remarks by the speaker who also appeared to aggressively grab an audience member and the reckless vandalism that followed, that was certainly not the case on our campus tonight. We are better than this.
“Something similar will arise here again at some point in the near future. We will need to learn from this experience and rise to that occasion," Herbst said.
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