Presidential candidates are weighing in on the recent resignation of school officials at the University of Missouri, where student protests over racial tensions have rocked the college campus.
On Thursday, billionaire businessman Donald Trump called the stepping down of administrators "disgusting," saying that it only sets the stage for further "disaster."
"I think the two people that resigned are weak, ineffective people," Trump told Fox News. "I think that when they resigned they set something in motion that's going to be a disaster for a long period of time."
Black students groups at Mizzou had complained for months that the administration was repeatedly ignoring race-related complaints. The conflict reached a heated peak last week after more than 30 black football players refused to play for the school until after the university system's president resigned. President Tim Wolfe and Columbia campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced Monday that they would leave their posts.
Trump believed that the student activists, who were calling for school officials to address racial incidents, had unreasonable requests.
"Did you look at the demands?" he asked a Fox News host. "The demands, the things that they're asking for, many of those things are like, crazy."
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson also criticized the race-related protests, which have been taking place on other campuses including his own alma mater, Yale University. He characterized the campus protests as an attack on free speech.
"There's a level of intolerance for things that are so called 'not politically correct' that is growing and really threatening our freedoms," the GOP contender said Thursday in an interview with Fox News. "What we really need to do is sit down, put on table the rationale for our beliefs and discuss them. That is not being fostered at our universities to the detriment of our society."
Carson blamed the "politically correct police" for the university officials' resignations.
"People are so frightened of the politically correct police that they're willing to do things that are irrational to appease them," he said. "If they continue to capitulate all the time, we're going to be pushed further into secular progressive philosophy. You have to be brave in order to be free."
On Thursday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio voiced similar opinions that students' First Amendment rights are under attack.
"Freedom of speech on campuses seems to be under assault in some of the supposedly finest institutions in this country," Rubio said during a swing through South Carolina. "In the case of Missouri, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it is that got the president fired."
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also addressed the issue while at a education roundtable in Milwaukee on Tuesday.
"It is kind of somewhat ironic to me - [college] was a place where you expressed yourself and you could say anything and you heard from people that weren't similar to you, who came in from a different point of view, and that's where ideas sort of clashed and people formed their own point of views," he said.
"Does freedom of speech mean there will be boorish people who say things that you don't associate with? Yes, and people should shun them," Paul added. "That's what happens, people shun people who are boors that say outlandish things or things that are unacceptable. But really in a free society, there's just gotta be a place for people to make their argument. I don't know what the answer is to all the different college campuses."
Democrats, meanwhile, have applauded attempts to tackle racism on college campuses, just days ahead of Saturday's Democratic primary debate to be held at Drake University in Iowa.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Tweeted out this message late Wednesday:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared her support by retweeting a campaign staffer on Wednesday who stood by University of Missouri protesters: