Secret Service agents and police officers ejected student protesters from the Donald Trump rally in Valdosta, Ga., Monday night while thousands were waiting for the presidential candidate to give his speech hours before Georgia opened its polls.
Officers escorted about 20-30 students who were peacefully protesting from the Valdosta State University PE complex.
“I was up near the front podium where he was. I was just enjoying the scenery or whatnot,” Ameer-Ali Julius, a first-year political science student at VSU said. “Next thing I know, a local police man and a secret service agent asked me and another black man to leave. He said it was too crowded.”
The predominantly white school was integrated in 1963 but white students still dominate the campus.
VSU students showed up in small groups inside the rally before Trump took the podium. Quentin Sabre Sims, a fourth-year philosophy student at VSU emphasized that the group of African-American students did not go to the rally to cause problems, but to listen to Trump’s policy.
“We didn’t come to protest. We just came to the Trump rally to get some information and listen to his policy,” Sims said. “We actually went with an open mind, since they brought him to our campus without asking us. We wanted to at least show our support to administration and listen, but before Trump got on stage, we were asked to leave because the party didn’t want us there.”
Spokesperson for Trump’s Campaign, Hope Hicks denied that the campaign had any knowledge of the incident.
“The campaign was not involved and has no knowledge of the incident in question,” Hicks said in an email.
VSU collegiate chapter of the NAACP President Jasmine Martin, expressed that administration went against its policy to get Trump at the university and that the students were there to make their presence known.
“We didn’t have a lengthy amount of knowledge about the event. We felt being that it is on campus, it was going to bring unnecessary attention to our school where we are suppose to feel safe,” Martin said. “We were going to let our presence speak for itself. As soon as they saw us coming together they kicked us out.”
Martin said that officials could not give them a clear answer when they asked why they had to leave.
“To be honest Valdosta is a racist city,” Martin exclaimed.
Protesters were peaceful until they were asked to leave. Once outside, protesters were asked to leave the grounds of the PE complex. Sims said Trump allegedly paid $1.6 million dollars to rent the property.
Sims added that there’s a direct disconnect between administration and the student body.