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Penn State Police Say One Arrest Made At Protest, ‘Not Aware’ Of Any Threats Ahead Of Time

Penn State University Police and Public Safety (UPPS) issued a statement Tuesday afternoon in response to its handling of a gathering near the Thomas Building on Monday, October 24.

The gathering was organized by The Student Committee for Defense and Solidarity in response to an on-campus event featuring the founder of the Proud Boys, which is an organization named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The event was canceled by Penn State one hour before its scheduled start time.

Penn State Police wrote that, prior to the event starting, it was “not aware of any credible threats of violence” but still “engaged with external law enforcement and public safety partners in developing a comprehensive security plan” in preparation for the worst-case scenario.

Associate Vice President for University Police and Public Safety Charlie Noffsinger said police recommended the event be canceled after violence ensued.

“The safety of our community is our number one priority, and as we prepared for last evening’s event, that was the foremost concern in our mind and in our preparations,” he said. “Despite the University’s goal of upholding free speech, given the agitated demonstrators, at least one known physical altercation, a crowd surge toward the building, and chemical spray of the crowd and officers, taken altogether, it was a safety risk to continue to move forward and we did recommend the event be canceled.”

Pennsylvania State Police officers, officers in tactical riot gear, and officers on horseback were all on-site Monday night. The UPPS said it’s aware pepper spray was used in the crowd of protesters but that no law enforcement officers deployed spray. Videos that surfaced online show a person dressed in all black deploying a spray before fleeing the scene unchased.

Police also wrote that one misdemeanor arrest was made Monday night for “disorderly conduct and defiant trespass” and that charges will be filed in the near future. Other investigations are ongoing.

“We are grateful for the support we received from the administration and from across the commonwealth as we made decisions about the safety of all involved in last night’s events,” Noffsinger said. “We are thankful for the fact that no one had been seriously injured.”

Anyone with additional information about Monday’s events can contact the University Park Police Station at 814-863-111. Anonymous reports can be made online at police.psu.edu/report-crime.

Pennsylvania State Police did not respond to a request for comment about any additional arrests made.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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