Reporter Andy Ngo was invited to speak at Dartmouth by the school’s College Republican group. However, from the time the event was announced, Antifa groups began making threats to shut it down and while they didn’t quite manage that, their threats did convince the school to close the event to all spectators. Instead, Ngo and another invited guest sat in an empty hall giving a talk over Zoom. Ngo wrote about the experience yesterday.
About a week prior to the scheduled event, the group Northeast Antifa published a disturbing flyer featuring a photograph of my bloodied face from when an Antifa mob beat me in 2019 in Portland, Ore. I was hospitalized for a brain hemorrhage from that assault and robbery.
“Anti-fascists from all over New England will be mobilizing January 20th, 2022 at Dartmouth College to disrupt and prevent fascist propagandists like Andy Ngo from normalizing their reactionary beliefs on college campuses in the Northeast,” tweeted the group. It instructed fellow comrades to “wear black” to hide their identities and avoid future prosecution.
On Instagram, the group threatened me directly. “This is to Andy Ngo himself: when you f–k with us you are not f–king with college students,” it wrote. “When you enter our home you start playing by our rules, not yours. New England is anti-fascist, and we will hold that line until death.”
The Vermont chapter of the far-left militia John Brown Gun Club responded in a tweet, saying it had called up reserves and would be there with a “battalion of Antifa.”
Ngo tweeted out some of the threats as they were happening last week.
Self-described “antifascists” & “antiracists” are suggesting violence against two people of color speaking at Dartmouth College on the subject of far-left violent extremism. This is their MO.
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) January 17, 2022
It’s Going Down (@igd_news), a violent extremist far-left group, was banned by Facebook for extremism. A terrorist attack in Washington state that resulted in convictions was first claimed on IGD. Predictably, they’re trying to shut down the speaking event.https://t.co/CP9znuskt1 pic.twitter.com/YfBeSQx7iO
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) January 17, 2022
After an #Antifa account tagged several armed leftist groups to bring their attention to my speaking event at Dartmouth College, one of them said it “called in the reserves so there will be a battalion of antifa super soldiers to greet him.” https://t.co/xOrBSSAzLI pic.twitter.com/RPp3wk9Kw8
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) January 18, 2022
Ngo says that local police secured the hall where the event was scheduled to take place but two hours before it was set to start, the school canceled it, or at least the in-person version of it.
Attendees who drove hours across New England were turned away at the door. The administrators would not even let in the family of the organizers or those who were personally vetted. Inside, Nadales and I spoke on a staffer’s old laptop in an empty lecture hall. The video stream was plagued with sound issues.
Dartmouth released a statement after the event which blamed the cancelation (of the in-person speech) on last minute security information and a failure by College Republicans to communicate properly.
In light of concerning information from Hanover police regarding safety issues, similar concerns expressed by the College Republican leadership, and challenges with the student organization’s ability to staff a large public event and communicate effectively (including dissemination of the visitor policy and a prohibition on bags in the building), the College has requested that the Extremism in America panel be moved online. The event was not canceled. The College has supported the event virtually.
But the leader of the college Republicans, Griffin Mackey, says the school’s explanation is not accurate. [emphasis added]
This statement is both factually wrong and embarrassing to read.
First, we spoke to several police officers during and after the event. They took it as a personal affront that Dartmouth cited safety concerns as a reason for the cancelation. We had Dartmouth campus security, state troopers, Hanover police officers, Lebanon police officers, and New Hampshire SWAT members in and around the building.
Moore Hall may have been the safest place in the state of New Hampshire.
Those officers were more than capable of maintaining security and, as several told us, never advised Dartmouth to cancel Ngo’s live appearance in the few hours leading up to the event…
Secondly, the College Republicans Vice President Chloe Ezzo and I were in constant communication with the administration before the event. Over the past week, I had approximately six meetings with various members of the administration and IT support. Chloe was also in almost constant communication with Dartmouth administrators. So much so that I joked with Chloe on Wednesday that emailing the administration had turned into a full-time job for her…
In regards to the dissemination of the visitor policy and the prohibition on bags in the building, again, the administration is simply not telling the truth. For example, our last campus-wide email had the subject line, “NO BACKPACKS ALLOWED.”
Mackey says the school sent an email asking him for a list of volunteers at the event about 2 1/2 hours before it was supposed to start, i.e. 30 minutes before they pulled the plug. At that point Mackey was making final preparations in the event hall and didn’t see the school’s email because of weak reception. But if the school needed such a list for the event to proceed, shouldn’t it have asked prior to 2 1/2 hours before the event? Couldn’t they have requested it in the previous six meetings with organizers?
Chloe Ezzo, the main event organizer, also said the school’s claim that the event wasn’t “canceled” are a stretch given the circumstances.
Administrators have argued they didn’t cancel the event — it was held on Zoom. But what they fail to mention is that all of this was done on such short notice; we only had two laptops on hand, and no way to get the livestream link right away to those who were already driving home.
More recently I’ve learned our recording of the event did not turn out as well as we hoped, either, so viewing it after the fact will be difficult.
Furthermore, the administration’s allegation that we did not communicate well is false. We sent emails to the campus community about event protocols that clearly stated rules regarding backpacks and IDs. We met with Dartmouth administrators a half-dozen times leading up to the event, including having meetings with them the day before and the day of our event.
As Ezzo put it, “thugs and fascists won the day in Hanover.” The heckler’s veto worked and spoiled the event, which was almost certainly the left’s goal all along in making threats online.
Ngo points out that the New Hampshire chapter of the ACLU didn’t condemn the behavior of Antifa. However, Suzanne Nossel, the CEO of PEN America did support Ngo’s right to speak. Ngo was there to speak about the danger of left-wing extremism and instead the school wound up giving a practical demonstration of how threats can silence speech.
No matter what you think of @MrAndyNgo's views, if he was properly invited to speak @dartmouth it would have been better to allow him to proceed, with adequate security. Its possible-and better-to forcefully protest a message without silencing it. https://t.co/MP54AFJp4K
— Suzanne Nossel (@SuzanneNossel) January 25, 2022