UT student rally for Kavanaugh erupts into heated dispute
Some University of Texas at Austin students are taking a stand for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. An event on the UT campus Tuesday erupted into a heated dispute. Students say there was yelling, chanting and some crying for nearly two hours.
Outnumbered but not intimidated the Young Conservatives of Texas made their opinions known. The signs in their hands read "Kava Not Guilty," "Justice for Kavanaugh" and "Witch Hunt!" The gathering quickly grew and so did the tension. Student journalist Ryan Chandler watched it all unfold.
"A bunch of the counter protesters had stolen signs, ripped them up and then on the back of them written messages against YCT," recalls Chander, a sophomore at UT. He estimates the Young Conservatives of Texas were outnumbered about 10 to 1.
Elizabeth Boone didn't plan to get involved but says she felt compelled to question her classmates supporting Kavanaugh.
"Why are you here? What does this do for you? To the women who were there -- how do you as a woman fit into this situation?" Boone, a UT junior, asks.
Some sexual assault survivors became emotional at the scene -- feeling the event was attempt to discredit them.
"It's really hard to think that somewhere I love so much can still cause me and so many other students this amount of pain," says Boone.
However, UT's Young Conservatives of Texas chairman says their group wasn't intending harm.
"We stand with sexual assault survivors at the end of the day, but that doesn't mean that we won't ask for evidence when accusations are made and I think Judge Kavanaugh is a good man," says Saurahb Sharma, Young Conservatives of Texas chairman and UT senior.
Sharma says the purpose of the gathering was to show other Kavanaugh supporters that they may be a minority on campus but they're not alone.
"He's an extraordinarily well qualified jurist and there's no reason his name should be dragged through the mud any longer," Sharma says.
Others argued the university should have shut the event down after seeing the pain it caused survivors. J.B. Bird, spokesperson and Director of Media Relations at UT-Austin said in an emailed statement:
"As the nation watches the Supreme Court confirmation process, many of our students are sharing their strong views about the ongoing events. We encourage a robust debate on campus in which everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions. We want to remind students to be respectful, even of those whose views they disagree with. The Dean of Students will follow up with some of the students involved in today's protests."
However witnesses to the event say respect was hard to find.
"My one takeaway from this is while UT is a diverse community with a lot of differences and different points of belief this was definitely not the most healthy way to address that," says Chandler.