Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, deleted an Instagram post profiling a conservative student addressing the importance of voting.
The college removed the posting following outcry from other students who said that conservatives want to kill black people and are an active threat to the school community.
What are the details?
According to Campus Reform, the post featured Bates College Republicans President Quinn Troy, who shared a statement about the importance of voting.
The outlet reported that the since-deleted post featured a photo of Troy and read, “Most of my participation comes through my work with College Republicans: increasing the visibility of the club on campus, disseminating conservative ideas, and making sure that people know that there’s a space where you can support a Republican candidate without getting a side eye or without being baselessly labeled as hateful.”
The post concluded, “Just make sure you vote. Either way you vote, we should be able to coexist with one another regardless of political affiliation. I think that’s the most important part.”
Following the post, students and social media users took to the post to express their opinions that it was inherently wrong to feature a conservative Republican student — which they said, according to Campus Reform, is “actively harmful to the community” — on the Instagram page.
Bates College Black Student Union issued a statement about the posting and blasted Troy and his sentiments.
“We, too, believe that we should be able to ‘coexist peacefully’ … except when we’re being forced to coexist with people that want to kill us, poison us, and push us into war,” the union posted in response to the original posting.
What did the school say?
The very same day, the school shared a statement from President Clayton Spencer regarding the college’s decision to feature Troy and his thoughts on the social media channel.
Spencer’s statement said, “The right to free speech — including, especially, robust debate of political views — is a core value of our democracy. The freedom to form one’s views and values by one’s own lights is also the essence of a liberal arts education. We can only be a healthy college and society when all of us are prepared to subject our own views to scrutiny and debate, and consider the contrary views of others.”
Later, the original post — and that of Spencer — was deleted entirely from the account, and the college explained that the posts were removed due to a “number of violations of the college’s social and digital media comments policy.”
In another Instagram post, the Bates Student Government said that the school “should not claim that both sides of this conversation are equal.”
“If Bates wants to claim that it cares of all its students, especially those who are persecuted directly by the actions of this administration and all its supporters, then it cannot pander to those who actively work to attack, limit, or deny the rights of those students,” the statement added.
Following further outcry and even a peaceful protest against the original post — as well as Spencer’s subsequent clarification — both Spencer and the school ultimately ended up apologizing for Troy’s post.
Author: Sarah Taylor