Political discrimination? 5 times student leaders faced oustings for conservative views
In 2020, there were multiple attempts by students to remove peers from leadership positions due to their mainstream conservative views.
Students were lambasted, and sometimes successfully removed, from their positions for various conservative, pro-Trump and religious views.
Throughout 2020 Campus Reform covered multiple stories of efforts to remove students from leadership positions for expressing various conservative viewpoints.
Here are the top 5 examples of this happening in 2020:
Rae’Lee Klein, an Arizona State University journalism student, was forced to leave her position at the school’s radio station after she shared a tweet attempting to open dialogue about Jacob Blake and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Klein’s tweet read, “Always more to the story folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.” Following the tweet, the school forced Klein to leave her position.
Klein responded with a lawsuit against the school for removing her.
In an interview with Campus Reform Klein said her lawsuit against the university "is based solely on free speech and content-based discrimination which is something that we see on college campuses across the country.”
She also asked to be reinstated to her position in the lawsuit.
After Seodam Kwak expressed conservative, viewpoints the University of Utah student government attempted to impeach him.
Kwak was sought after because he was the only student senator to oppose a resolution from the school’s Black Student Union. Some of the resolutions asked for mandatory anti-Black racism sessions for new student orientations, instituting a Black Community Advisory Committee and an hourly pay rate for those participating in a diversity initiative photoshoot. The resolution passed, despite Kwak’s opposition.
Kwak told Campus Reform that while he did like parts of the bill, too many parts of it concerned him, such as the selective incorporation of the free speech code and grants only available to Black students.
Students attempted to remove Kyle Jacobson, the Vice President of the Northern Illinois University Student Government Association, after he was criticized for his conservative ideology.
SGA members were concerned with Jacbobson's ability to be representative of all students. Detractors cited his position as the founder of the school’s Turning Point USA chapter and his support of law enforcement, specifically the Blue Lives Matter movement.
SGA senators and 80 students shared their concerns for Jacobson’s ability to represent all students on campus. Former SGA Vice President Naomi Bolden expressed that she felt he was unfit because of his “ignorance” and “unwillingness to educate himself on people and communities different from him affect his ability to do his job efficiently and without personal bias.”
"An officer of a student government association has official duties. He should be judged solely on how well he performs those duties," National Association of Scholars Director of Research David Randall told Campus Reform. “Any attempt to remove a student government officer for extramural free speech is an immoral (and, I trust, illegal) attempt to restrict membership in student government on political grounds.”
Stephanie Martinez, a Senator for Diversity and Inclusion at Loyola Marymount University in California, was impeached for year-old tweets regarding immigration and expressing both conservative and pro-Trump views.
One tweet about illegal immigration said, "the same people advocating for rights, equality and better conditions for illegal aliens are the same one (sic) censoring freedom of speech (a right), defaming and initiating hostility for those Americans with divergent views! Sad!”
Martinez was impeached for allegedly violating a bylaw regarding “conduct that severely damages the integrity or author of ASLMU or the office held by the individual in question.”
The Senate claimed that her removal was not due to her tweets but was instead because of her creation of an “LMU students for Trump” page founded days after the formal complaint was filed.
Senator for Diversity and Inclusion Camille Orozco, who brought the impeachment charges against Martinez, claimed that “Sen. Martinez’s public statements and actions undermine the mission of inclusivity pertinent to her role as Senator for Diversity and Inclusion."
Martinez spoke to Campus Reform, saying that this was an attack on her political ideology.
“For a student government that claims to advocate for all students, they seem to exclude conservative students. This student government does not care for the well-being of conservative students on campus. They do not and will not have our best interest at heart.”
Florida State University Student Senate President Jack Denton was removed from his position after he warned his Catholic peers of the “explicitly anti-Catholic” views espoused by the Black Lives Matter organization in a private group chat.
After screenshots from the GroupMe among Catholic students surfaced, Denton came under fire for stating that “everyone should be aware that BlackLivesMatter.com, Reclaim the Block, and the ACLU all advocate for that that are explicitly anti-Catholic."
Denton suggested his Catholic peers express caution in supporting the ACLU in its defense of abortion, a stance that the Catholic Church teaches is morally wrong.
After the screenshots became public, a petition for Denton's removal began to circulate, labeling him “racist” and “transphobic."
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Jess_Custodio