University of North Texas president says he is 'looking into' conservative group after student says she feels 'unsafe'
The university College Democrats started a petition to have the group removed from campus.
The president of the University of North Texas tweeted that the college is "looking into" a conservative student group after a student tweeted that she feels "unsafe" by the group's affiliation with UNT.
The Young Conservatives of Texas chapter at the University of North Texas is being "looked into" by the university president, Neal Smatresk, after a student tweeted that she feels "unsafe" and "harassed" by the group's affiliation with the university.
After multiple instances of tweets and bake sales from the group were deemed “offensive” by some students, a petition was started to have the group removed from campus. The petition, signed by UNT Democrats, highlights the incidents from the YCT Twitter account and accuses them of “racism, transphobia, and homophobia.”
We are looking into this.
— Neal Smatresk (@UNTPrez) July 4, 2020
"UNT made a huge mistake reinstating YCT in 2019, even after the last chapter's actions. In order for a safe campus climate to be strengthened, YCT must be removed from UNT as an officially registered organization," the petition reads.
The petition, which has 2,700 signatures, highlights YCT being removed from campus in 2005 for similar reasons.
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The Texas online newspaper Texas Scorecard has sent multiple requests for information to the school, and each time, it responded citing laws that say that it isn't legally required to give that information.
“The university is releasing the complaint. However, section 51.971(c)(1) of the Texas Education Code expressly provides that “[i]nformation that directly or indirectly reveals the identity of an individual who made a report to the compliance program office of an institution of higher education, sought guidance from the office, or participated in an investigation conducted under the compliance program” is confidential. For this reason, the university submits that the name of the complainant is excepted from public disclosure under section 552.101,” the response reads.
The UNT College Democrats recently sent a tweet which, while condemning recent threats of violence towards YCT, said it plans to ignore YCT in the future, in order to “elevate the voices of those most vulnerable to right-wing hate groups such as YCT.”
“What this means regarding the current situation with YCT is that UNT Democrats - for the foreseeable future - is taking a hands-off approach to dealing with YCT and their supporters. It’s clear that no petition or any amount of student outrage will remove them from campus unless UNT is liable for whatever potential damage their hate speech and bigoted campus events cause,” the statement read.
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However, YCT is not too concerned about the investigation.
Chairman Kelly Neidert said her organization is safe, but that UNT is being quiet in order not to “create an uproar with the other side.”
“As of now, I don’t think there’s any chance that we will be removed over the situation that happened in July. I do believe that we’re kind of under a microscope now, so if the leftist students catch us breaking some UNT policy, they will take it and run with it,” Neidert said. “The attention that we got did bring in a lot of new members and supporters, so I would say that the petition completely backfired.”
UNT College Democrats and Smatresk did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Dean_Barker