After an article published by Breitbart News on Wednesday about the suspension of the UWF College Republicans chapter, the University of West Florida has disabled the ratings on their Facebook page.
UWF faced a backlash online from conservatives since the article was published, which detailed the problems that the UWF CRs faced when attempting to renew their organization’s registration for the upcoming academic year. Currently, they are suspended as a group and cannot function in any official capacity and face deletion if they do not renew the organisation in the upcoming Spring semester.
Who would have thought that being a young conservative would be so controversial and subversive in 2016 https://t.co/6sYOBdPnNs
— ✯ Americus Freeman ✯ (@AndYouWillDeal) September 15, 2016
Collaboration is listed as one of @UWF's core values
Republican Student Group Eliminatedhttps://t.co/Zp8fC3TjSh
— DisruptTheParty (@lakelanier1071) September 15, 2016
We are under siege. First FIU, UCF, then UM, now UWF. Anyone who tells you liberal bias doesn't exist is lying.https://t.co/fqgxxUUp4c
— Cade Marsh (@CadeMarshFL) September 15, 2016
Never ceases to amaze me how petty paper pushers think doing stuff like this somehow equals a win for their cause. https://t.co/U61S6qP3eQ
— Alex Smith (@AlexandraCSmith) September 15, 2016
A few users then began linking to UWF’s Facebook reviews, encouraging people to leave comments on the page.
— Ariana Rowlands♛ (@IamQueenAri) September 15, 2016
It is unclear whether UWF disabled their ratings as a result of critical comments posted by conservatives and free-speech activists, or in order to preempt such a situation from occurring. De Paul University in Chicago took down their reviews after they were bombarded with 1 star ratings, following an incident where Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos was forced to abandon a talk at the university when protesters stormed the stage.
Cade Marsh, the State Chairman of the Florida Federation of College Republicans, told Breitbart News that the situation was “laughable… UWF oversteps their bounds and directly discriminates against College Republicans on campus, and when they are held accountable for their actions, instead of righting the wrong, correcting a mistake, or issuing an apology, they disable their publicly reviewable Facebook page comments. This is censorship, plain and simple, once again, and we aren’t having it. We aren’t going to let this go, and we won’t stop fighting them until UWF College Republicans are rightfully restored.”
Charlotte Davis, Chairman of UWF College Republicans, said that she was “grateful for the support we have received, and I hope to hear a comment from the administration about it soon. But the silencing of opinions and discussion is unacceptable. First administrators disable our club, then they disable their Facebook reviews. This censorship only proves that they cannot justify their actions.”
A UWF spokesperson responded to Breitbart’s inquiry about the deactivation of their Facebook ratings, stating:
The decision was made based on multiple factors, including the fact that the University recently received reviews that did not represent the opinions of individuals who attend, are alumni or have any other affiliation with the institution. A variety of institutions and other organizations do not allow reviews.
Jack Hadfield is a student at the University of Warwick and a regular contributor to Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @ToryBastard_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.