Fight occurs between groups over ideologies

During the 2008 election, the U.S. was already seeing great division between its two parties. This was no different on campus at UT-Arlington, where tensions eventually boiled over on one afternoon in a central courtyard.

Political Groups Clash

Client: The Shorthorn
Circa: October 2008
Scope: Coverage, interviews, story
Duration: 1 day
Software Used: Microsoft Word
Summary: This was a tense one, and I was there from the beginning. I’d been covering the election, and I knew these two groups didn’t like each other. I also knew they would be hosting fundraisers right next to one another on the same day. Sure enough, a massive argument broke out involving dozens of people and resulting in some physical violence.

Originally Published:

The incident began over a religious-themed shirt worn by an Obama supporter

A conflict occurred between members of the Young Conservatives of Texas and the National Association of Colored Women’s Club UTA chapters over religion and politics Wednesday afternoon on the University Center mall.

It ended with an apology from YCT membership director Andrew Canfield who also donated money to NACWC.

The groups were distributing campaign merchandise within 10 feet of each other when Canfield walked over to the group supporting Barack Obama and asked why the NACWC member was wearing a shirt that said “God is love.”

Canfield said Obama’s pro-choice stance conflicts with the shirt’s message.

“He’s the Antichrist,” Canfield shouted. “That’s not an opinion. Read the book of Revelation.”

The groups engaged in a shouting match that ended when YCT executive chair Rachel Imbriale got the help of Carter Bedford, Student Governance and Organizations associate director.

Bedford mediated the conflict and met with each group separately.

“When you mix religion and politics, you’re going to have issues,” he said.

Police happened to be in the area and arrived on the scene, but the incident was already under control.

The NACWC Obama supporters, who asked that their names not be used, said they detached Canfield from them after feeling threatened.

Canfield said he was shoved.

He said he started the conversation politely, stating his opinion and asking, “Why can’t we have a discussion about our candidates?”

But he said the Obama group escalated the situation.

A NACWC member said Canfield said that since one of the members touched him, he had to take a shower because he was unclean.

She took this as a racial slur.

YCT member Daniel Moreno said there is no reason for hostility.

“We don’t need to be at each other’s throats,” he said.

The most important thing is for students to vote for the candidate they believe in, no matter the party, Moreno said.

Bedford said it’s best to resolve disagreements through his office first.

Those that can’t be solved are referred to the student conduct office. After the incident, both groups continued to support their candidates in the same location.