EXCLUSIVE: Purported leftists write profanities on 'free speech ball,' conservatives get the blame
One administrator accused the conservative students of 'causing division' and instilling fear in others, despite alleged leftist students leaving messages like '[w]hite men are the Devil.'
The president of Whitworth University's TPUSA chapter now faces possible administrative sanctions after the group tabled with a popular pro-free speech display.
Faculty members at a Christian university told a group of conservative students to take down their pro-free speech display because it was “causing division” after purported left-wing students wrote profanities on it.
On Oct. 2, Leadership Institute Field Representative Colby Bepple was tabling for Turning Point USA (TPUSA) at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, when these unidentified students took advantage of the opportunity to leave inflammatory messages on the group’s display.
Bepple told Campus Reform that the group of students appeared to be leftists based on the pro-gender ideology remarks they made to the conservative students running in the event.
The Leadership Institute is the parent organization of Campus Reform.
The conservative organization featured a free speech ball, a large, inflatable beach ball that is commonly used as a tabling prop by student groups to promote healthy discussion and debate on college campuses.
“[The ball is] an easy, fun physical representation of the first amendment,” TPUSA representative Sam Johnson said. “While conducting the free speech ball, it was going well with students engaged in constructive conversation and writing whatever they felt as their truths.”
Some students saw the ball as an opportunity to express their Christian faith, with one writing, “Repent & Believe in the Gospel.” Another student discussed whether pineapples belong on pizza, as another compared Plato and Aristotle.
The alleged leftist students, however, soon took to writing vulgarities, including a drawing of a penis. “Free speech does not protect you from the consequences of your actions. Get f****d, fascists,” a leftist wrote. Another student wrote that “[w]hite men are the Devil,” accompanied by “eat p***y it’s organic.”
A university faculty member sat nearby, along with the student body president, watching this happen. However, two faculty members, including the TPUSA chapter’s own advisor, told the conservative students to remove the free speech ball, claiming that it was “creating a divisive atmosphere on campus” and making other students “scared.”
Since Bepple was wearing a body camera, Whitworth TPUSA President Mazie Castagnetta now faces potential administrative sanctions because her “club/organization made a recording of a staff member without their consent,” and “allowed another student to view this recording in the mind and hearth coffee shop.”
Castagnetta told Campus Reform she fears retaliation. “I’m afraid of what sanctions they are going to come up with regarding our club, and for me,” she said. “I am extremely frustrated. I felt disrespected and unsupported from administrators. I am now being targeted by Whitworth for allowing free speech.”
Johnson also believes that the treatment was unfair. “Based upon how the faculty was complacent with the actions of certain members of the student body but so heavy handed with Turning Point USA, it’s hard to not feel like we were set up to fail,” he stated.
Campus Reform has reached out to Whitworth University for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.