Antifa groups are coming out in support of a graduate instructor who was arrested last year for assaulting two students at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
In November, Campus Reform reported that graduate instructor Tariq Khan had stolen and vandalized the phone of one student, and thrown a punch at another during an anti-Trump protest on campus.
Khan then proceeded to charge at the two students, accusing them of threatening his children before physically accosting them.
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The incident was reported to campus police, and Khan was placed under arrest and issued a notice to appear in court for criminal damage to property.
In response, the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN)—a group created last year by two university professors—released a statement praising Khan as an upstanding graduate student while condemning the university for its treatment of the matter.
CAN “condemns in the strongest possible terms the campaign of vilification and harassment directed at Tariq Khan, a doctoral student in the History Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, instigated and sponsored by Turning Point USA (TPUSA) and its associated media arm, Campus Reform,” the statement begins, erroneously labeling Campus Reform as a TPUSA affiliate.
The statement, addressed to both the school’s assistant and associate deans of students, goes on to demand that the university “drop all disciplinary and ‘criminal damage’ charges against Tariq Khan and issue a condemnation of TPUSA’s hateful slander and defamation.”
“Since November 2017, Tariq Khan has been receiving a torrent of abusive and hateful emails, and the disciplinary charges against him would essentially strip his status as a Ph.D. candidate in good standing, which, in turn, could jeopardize his ability to secure funding to complete his program,” CAN adds, devoting much of the rest of its statement to criticizing TPUSA for its tactics, principles, and leadership.
“UIUC should be absolutely committed to supporting their graduate student employees in every way possible,” the statement concludes. “We remind the OSCR that bending to TPUSA’s demands in this case will only further signal the university’s willingness to sacrifice the very principles upon which it is founded.”
The Purdue Social Justice Coalition (PSJC) has since joined in on the action, posting statements on its Facebook page in support of Khan and claiming that TPUSA “uses McCarthy era tactics to intimidate, persecute, and blacklist political opponents.”
“Khan is a friend of this group, and is a comrade dedicated to building a more just world. Likewise, his scholarship is first-rate,” PSJC added, urging its followers to contact university administrators to “express solidarity” with Kahn because according to the post, “Urbana-Champaign’s administration does not have a good track record in defending academics from right wing attacks and threats.”
Campus Reform reached out to CAN and PSJC for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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First published at Campus Reform
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