Students wearing MAGA hats were ordered to leave a campus coffee shop after a worker accused them of violating community standards on safe spaces, a video posted by the Campus Reform website says. “Members of the Fordham University College Republicans were asked to leave an on-campus coffee shop because their MAGA hats apparently violated the shop’s ‘safe space policy,” the site alleges.
“Five minutes… five minutes if you don’t leave. Get out,” the unidentified woman shouts in the video, which you can watch above. “This says nothing about supporting political identity. That says nothing about politics. You have no right to do any of this,” one man responds. “I am protecting my customers,” she says. One man points out that the students with MAGA hats are customers because they bought coffee. Campus Reform said the woman was “the self-identified president of Rodrigue’s Coffee House, a coffee shop run by a student club.” The student who brought up political identity was referring to the coffee shop’s safe space policy.
“I don’t want people like you supporting this club. No one here wants people like you supporting our club,” the woman says. “I’m giving you five minutes.”
“Do not try to outsmart me. I am giving four minutes now. Please leave,” the woman says. “…Please pack your stuff up and go…you are threatening the integrity of our club. This is a community standard. You are wearing hats that completely violate our safe space policy. Take it off or you have to go…fascism, Nazis, OK?” One man said, “I don’t see fascism, Nazis on this hat. I see America.” The woman tugged on one of the men’s hats as she said the MAGA hats represented Nazis.
According to Campus Reform and the club’s Facebook page, the coffee shop’s Safe Space Policy reads, “Rodrigue’s strives to be a safer space on Fordham’s campus. For these reasons, consider the following: Do not make assumptions about someone’s gender, sexuality, race, class, or experiences. Be aware of your own identity, while being considerate of the personhood of your peers. Be mindful of the ways in which your words and actions impact others. Be aware of the boundaries of other’s space, physical or otherwise, and respect their consent. No racism – No sexism – No homophobia. If you feel that someone has transgressed this policy, we want you to feel comfortable confronting them or approaching a member behind the counter, who is available as a resource to assist you.”
MAGA stands for Make America Great Again and is the slogan used by President Donald Trump. After the Campus Reform article was publicized in the New York Post, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about it.
On its Facebook page, the club says, “We do things like coffee and music and movies and love. If you like or want any of those things, stop on by. We’re located between Alumni Court South and Queen’s Court. Also, we’re entirely student run. It’s pretty rad.” Recent posts on the page involve open mic events. On Twitter, the coffee shop’s tweets are protected. “Rodrigue’s is a mild mannered coffee shop by day and a super hero/concert venue by night. Rodrigue’s tries its best to be a safer space (info on the facebook),” the Twitter profile for the coffee shop says.
A feature story on the coffee house in the Fordham Ram previously reported, “Rodrigue’s Coffee House is open to all. Opened in 1991, Rodrigue’s Coffee House is the only on-campus club that provides a daily, tangible service to all members of the Fordham community through low-priced, organic and Fair-Trade coffee drinks as well as an open community space.” The news site reported that the coffee house “is maintained entirely by volunteer student workers and headed by an elected executive board.” Campus Reform wrote that it was still awaiting a response from Fordham University, which is located in New York.
Fordham University did release a statement to The Hill, which read: “There is no University safe space policy, nor one that excludes any members of the Fordham community from any public spaces on the basis of their political views. Fordham is a community that values diverse opinions, and in which students should disagree with one another in a civil fashion. The University is still investigating the incident, and students who may have violated the University code of conduct will be met with the appropriate student conduct process.”