WATCH: Conservative student says he risks repercussions by talking with Campus Reform
Alexander Russo is a senior at Elizabethtown College, a private institution in Pennsylvania, and is the chapter President of his Turning Point USA chapter.
Campus Reform Reporter Alexa Schwerha sat down with Alexander Russo to talk about his experience sharing his conservative values while attending a private university.
"It's scary...because our school has been punishing individuals for posts on their [social] media," Russo said in reference to speaking with Campus Reform about Critical Race Theory and LGBTQ issues.
Russo is a senior at Elizabethtown College, a private institution in Pennsylvania, and is the chapter President of his Turning Point USA chapter. During his time on campus, Russo has rallied for conservative values by hosting conservative speakers to talk about issues such as socialism and Critical Race Theory.
However, attending a private university provides additional barriers allegedly imposed by the university administration. As stated by Russo, "they [get] to put their say in every little thing you do."
"If I want a poster to be put up somewhere, it has to be approved by... three to four different people," he recounted. "So much extra administrative BS, if you don't mind me saying that...we have to deal with."
Russo acknowledged that since Elizabethtown College is a private institution, the administration has more liberty to "stop everything that we do and regulate it."
Last semester, Russo spearheaded an event featuring conservative activist Joe Basrawi to talk about Critical Race Theory. However, upon the universities request, the event was forced to be held at an off-campus venue.
"They don't care about free speech. They care about not offending other people on campus, potentially offending other people on campus," he stated.
Despite the intention, Russo said that the pushback only provided more publicity and helped to make the event a community success. Through the help of outside organizations, the event was said to be bigger than originally intended.
However, while the alternative venue helped rally support for the event, Russo acknowledged that it was discouraging the students were allowed to use the campus facilities that they pay for.
According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, private universities are not "directly bound by the First Amendment." However, the institutions do have a responsibility to "respect the promises they make to students," such as providing an environment for "free thought and expression."
Watch the full interview above.
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