Citing safety concerns, Pres. Obama's staff barred a group of College Republicans from attending the president's speech at the University of Central Missouri earlier this week.
Security insisted that prohibiting the young Republicans from participating in the event was not done as a matter of politics, but out of concern for the well-being of the president. According to the College Fix:
The students, some of whom donned Tea Party T-Shirts and others who wore patriotic or Republican-inspired clothing, had protested the president earlier in the day on campus, but had put away their signs and said they were ready to simply listen to Obama when security shut them down – and even told them to leave the vicinity and stay several hundred yards away from the rec center.
James Staab, a political science professor at Central Missouri, lauded President Obama's visit as "an attempt to go public, directly to the American people." The student Republicans insisted that they were deliberately singled-out of the crowd, and denied entrance despite having tickets. Additionally, the students stood in line outside the university's recreation center, where the speech was to take place, for two hours before they received the bad news.
Courtney Scott, the state treasurer of the Republican student organization, was dismayed about how the situation played out. "A lot of us traveled several hours to watch the speech," said Scott. "We were very disappointed not to be able to attend."
The potential security threats had been staging a protest of the event earlier in the day. The College Fix asserts that "the students' protest earlier in the day was a peaceful one, consisting of holding political speech signs and talking to passersby throughout the morning." Furthermore, the College Republicans were restricted to the campus's free speech zone, "not anywhere near the rec center," and out of "eyesight or earshot of people who were waiting in line."