Students at the University of North Texas protested against a conservative politician who promotes criminalizing sex reassignment surgeries during a event on Wednesday night at UNT's Curry Hall.
Ismael Belkoura, a sophomore studying journalism and politics at UNT, attended the event for a class and shared the video footage on Twitter.
'F*ck These Fascists'
In a 17-second video that has since gone viral on social media, District 63 candidate Jeff Younger can be seen standing at the front of a classroom as students bang on their desks and shout insults at him.
"F*ck these fascists," the students can be heard saying as Younger claps his hands and appears to be urging the protesters to keep going. In another video, Younger is heard saying, "Come on, communists. Let's go, commies."
Younger Invited to Speak on Criminalization of Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Trans Children and Teens
Younger â who lost a years-long battle for custody of his 9-year-old twins, one of them being a transgender girl â was invited to speak on the criminalization of gender-affirming health care for Texas transgender children and teens by the Young Conservatives of Texas, a student organization that promoted the event with anti-trans flyers distributed across campus.
The event announcement sparked outrage last week among some UNT students, who said the event and its rhetoric diminishes the safety and dignity of transgender students.
Who is Kelly Neidert?
The event was reportedly cut short, and Young Conservatives of Texas's UNT chapter Chair Kelly Neidert was rushed out of the building. Neidert said on Twitter that she hid in a janitor closet, fearing for her safety.
Earlier this month, Neidert posted a TikTok video of herself arguing with another student over flyers she was printing. The flyers read "criminalize child transitions" and were aimed at promoting the on-campus event with Younger. The video went viral and has since led to an online petition meant to have Neidert expelled from the university.
Video footage showed Neidert being evacuated from the university by a police escort on Wednesday night as a few hundred protesters gathered outside the building, some chanting "protect trans kids," witnesses said.
Video footage showed Neidert surrounded by a mob of protesters as she was being escorted off campus in an unmarked police vehicle. The vehicle was seen striking a protester, who can be seen limping away from the vehicle after it accelerated forward and then stopped.
UNT President Releases Statement, Addresses Protests
In a prepared statement, UNT President Neal Smatresk addressed the event, the protest and the collision with the protester.
"A group of protestors surrounded the police vehicles containing both the student organizers and their guest and attempted to block their exit from the scene by banging on the vehicles and impeding their movement," Smatresk said. "The officers engaged emergency lights and sounded warning sirens repeatedly while inching forward as other officers assisted in clearing a path for the vehicles to exit safely. We have heard accounts of a protester who was reportedly injured during that time. However, we do not have confirmed details of that report."
Smatresk's statement said the event ended "without any reported serious injuries." UNT Police Department requested assistance from the Denton Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety ahead of the event because conversation around the event and its host, the UNT Chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, "have been contentious."
"UNT Police and the other supporting agencies were able to get the student organizers and their guest to safety, while also dispersing the protestors without further incident," Smatresk said.
Additionally he said that law enforcement believes that a small group of protesters not affiliated with university sparked aggression. "These actions culminated in with a group of protesters swarming the police, who were working to safely escort both the guest speaker and student organizers off campus. DPS was called in to assist with maintaining safety," Smatresk said.