Sen. Kyrsten Sinema slammed an activist organization on Monday, the day after several of its members confronted her in her classroom at Arizona State University and followed her into a bathroom while filming.
While the Arizona Democrat boosted her state’s support for the First Amendment, calling it “vital to our democracy,” she dubbed Sunday’s confrontation as “not legitimate protest.”
“Yesterday, several individuals disrupted my class at Arizona State University. After deceptively entering a locked, secure building, these individuals filmed and publicly posted videos of my students without their permission — including footage taken of both my students and I using a restroom,” Sinema (D-Ariz.) began in a statement posted to Twitter.
“Yesterday’s behavior was not legitimate protest,” she added. “It is unacceptable for activist organizations to instruct their members to jeopardize themselves by engaging in unlawful activities such as gaining entry to close university buildings, disrupting learning environments, and filming students in a restroom.”
Sinema pointed to her commitment of creating a “safe and intellectually challenging environment” for her students in the past 19 years she has been teaching at the university, claiming that the environment was breached on Sunday.
“My students were unfairly and unlawfully victimized. This is wholly inappropriate.”
“It is the duty of elected leaders to avoid fostering an environment in which honestly-held policy disagreements serve as the basis for vitriol — raising the temperature in political rhetoric and creating a permission structure for unacceptable behavior.”
Sinema noted that she has met with the activist group “several times” since she was elected and voted to “continue engaging with Arizonans with diverse viewpoints to help inform my work for Arizona.”
Video of the incident shows the small group of immigration activists — some of who indicated they may be here illegally — following the senator through an ASU hallway as they continue to berate her when she enters a bathroom stall.
She told the activists that she had to leave, however they continued to follow her into the ladies’ room, still filming.
“We knocked on doors for you to get you elected. Just how we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us,” one of the activists said to Sinema in the phone-recorded video viewed almost 2 million times on Twitter.
One of the activists, who identified herself as Blanca, told the senator that she had been brought to the US when she was 3 years old. She said her grandparents were deported in 2010 as a result of Arizona’s controversial SB1070 law, one of the strictest anti-immigration laws in the country.
“My grandfather passed away 2 weeks ago and I wasn’t able to go to Mexico because there is no pathway to citizenship,” she said.
“I’m here because I believe we need this pathway to citizenship,” she continued. “There’s millions of undocumented people who share the same story or even worse.”
Sinema did not respond to the activists, choosing to quietly remain in the closed stall.
According to Arizona law, it is illegal “for any person to knowingly photograph, videotape, film, digitally record or by any other means secretly view another person without that person’s consent” in restrooms, bathrooms, locker rooms, bedrooms, or any other locations where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The Arizona Attorney General did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on whether the state will take legal action.
The activists were targeting Sinema for her stance on President Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better infrastructure bill, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for many illegal immigrants.
On Saturday, Sinema slammed Democratic Party leadership for the House’s “inexcusable” failure to hold a vote on a $1 trillion bipartisan public works bill on Friday.
Sinema joined many moderates who criticized Democratic leadership’s decision to pull the bill from the floor on Friday in order to gain additional time to negotiate Biden’s sweeping, $3.5 trillion social spending bill.