University instructor arrested, allegedly assaulted students


The Daily Illini File Photo

The University of Illinois police on campus.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Tariq Khan, University Ph.D. candidate and graduate instructor in history, was arrested at an anti-Donald Trump rally Thursday for criminal damage to property. He allegedly assaulted two students protesting the gathering as well.

Joel Valdez, freshman in LAS and campus activism coordinator for Turning Point USA at the University, said Khan began shouting at the gatherers, calling them white supremacists.

Valdez then said, “Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?,” to which Khan allegedly began to get violent.

“Khan immediately charged us, pushing us, throwing punches. We then attempted to defuse the situation and remained calm, but Tariq was uncontrollable and unhinged. I’m certain that Khan knew there was no threat; he just wanted to look for a fight. I wasn’t interested,” Valdez said.

The University of Illinois Police Department reported that Khan forcibly took a student’s cellphone and threw it on the ground, breaking it. According to the report, the phone had an estimated value of $700.

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Their narrative that I ‘assaulted’ them is deeply problematic, Khan said in an email. They have been stalking, surveilling, and harassing students and staff all semester.

According to Khan, his altercation was within reason.

(Turning Point USA) tried to get one student organizer who is a friend of my family expelled from school and fired from her job because of her anti-racist politics and organizing, he said. They also tried to get a staff member who is Native American fired for her outspoken criticism of the racist ‘Chief’ symbol. They failed to get either of those women fired or expelled, but now they have moved on to me.

Khan belives Turning Point USA is targeting him because of his outspoken anti-racist and leftist politics.

I did not confront them out of the blue. In fact they showed up to the rally to intimidate and surveil leftist student organizers. One of their members … made a veiled threat against my children,” Khan said. It’s one thing to criticize my politics, it’s entirely another thing to threaten my children.

Khan was issued a notice to appear in court for criminal damage to property. The case has been brought to the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office.

I did not ‘assault’ anyone, Khan said. I will not tolerate threats against my children, certainly not from a member of the ‘alt-right’ movement.

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