The following correspondence was sent to University of Central Florida President, Alexander Cartwright, as well as Amanda Sellers, the Public Safety Communications Coordinator for the UCFPD.
We are contacting you regarding the University of Central Florida’s false and misleading statements about Kaitlin Bennett and her team. On Thursday, September 10th, the university put out a public statement, accusing our visit of being “intended to agitate and offended many members of our community”. This statement is not only defamatory, but puts our team’s safety at risk. Ms. Bennett was met with violence on your campus because left-wing radicals promote falsehoods about her online. Your university is now complicit in this as well.
On Tuesday, September 9th, our head of security first notified UCFPD of our visit. Our team met with Commander Scott Freeman the following day to plan our trip and determine good locations to interview students on campus. Commander Freeman informed our team that he was familiar with Kaitlin Bennett’s work and frequently watches her videos.
Our security team did not need to notify your department of our visit to campus, but we did so out of good faith to make it crystal clear that our trip was NOT intended to agitate. We wanted to make a game plan with your officers ahead of time to ensure that a hostile crowd would NOT form. The failure of your department to adequately control the crowd that formed and enforce your campus’ social gathering rules is not in any way indicative of Ms. Bennett, Liberty Hangout, or our security team. This failure rests on the shoulders of your department, and nobody else.
UCF knew our visit was not to agitate, but lied anyway to appease the same violent mob that chased us off campus. Not only were you informed of what our visit was for ahead of time, but Ms. Bennett spent 3-4 hours having dialogue with your students about the upcoming election. Many members of your community who both supported Ms. Bennett’s viewpoints and who disagreed joined her to have respectful discussions. At no point in time did we agitate anybody. The only agitators on campus that day were your students that interrupted our dialogue, violated your social distancing rules, and got violent towards us.
We asked your officers to enforce the social gathering ban while there were approximately just 30-40 students surrounding our team. UCFPD’s neglect to enforce the same rules they wished to selectively enforce on us allowed the crowd size to grow by the hundreds, to the point that Commander Freeman threatened to arrest us for trespassing as a way of dispersing the crowd. Your failure to properly enforce the social gathering rules when the crowd was much smaller led to the crowd turning violent against us and making us fear for our lives, as hundreds of students chased after us – many of whom were armed with skateboards that could be used as deadly weapons. Students that approached Ms. Bennett later admit online that it was their intention to violently assault her. Some solicited funds to punch her. Your department not only failed to provide a safe environment for us to practice our free speech on UCF’s campus, but infringed on our first amendment rights by threatening us with arrest and directly put Ms. Bennett and our team in harm’s way.
On Friday, September 11th, your university put out a second statement, claiming, “University staff had met with Thursday’s visitors the day prior to their visit and explained the university’s COVID-19 policy, including the consequences for noncompliance.” This too is an untrue statement. Commander Freeman told our team that UCFPD “are not the mask police”.
Not only did Commander Freeman allow our team to walk around without masks on that day (which his bodycam footage and the thousands of security cameras around your school can confirm), but he joked about how silly and unnecessary the COVID-19 policies on your campus are. Commander Freeman shared a story about how he had to have his appendicitis surgery delayed because of COVID-19. Before our team left, he intentionally shook our team members’ hands to display that he does not take the threat of COVID-19 seriously.
Hours after we left UCF campus on Thursday, our head of security spoke to Commander Freeman on the phone about UCF’s false statement which accused us of visiting to agitate. We asked Commander Freeman and the UCFPD to issue a public apology for this defamatory statement. Amanda Sellers of the UCFPD admit to Ms. Bennett on the phone that she helped write the defamatory statement. Two days later, this statement is still up and was shared by the UCFPD on their Twitter account.
Please retract all false statements made about Kaitlin Bennett and our team and issue a public apology. Failure to do so may result in litigation.