Conservative students at Trinity University are claiming victim status after their peers returned flyers advertising an event featuring Dinesh D’Souza that they delivered to individual dorms rooms on campus.
Jonah and Manfred Wendt, who lead Trinity’s group, Tigers for Liberty, filed a harassment complaint after students returned flyers in a neat stack after they had been distributed to individual dorm rooms. Some of the flyers had written notes, civilly expressing their disagreement with D’Souza and his message. Obviously, the students are not required to retain flyers delivered to their rooms.
Another student rearranged a flag that was hanging on one of the brother’s dorm room door.
“These leftist intimidation tactics will not phase us,” Jonah Wendt, director of the conservative Trinity group Tigers for Liberty, told the online campus watchdog site Campus Reform. “Once again liberals show how tolerant they are for ideas that are not their own.”
Unlike administrators on other campuses, the Trinity Dean of Students repeatedly defended Wendt’s right to free expression on campus on his personal blog.
Life would be simpler without Tigers For Liberty. I mean, it was. Many would say it was better. But what they deliver is an organization for others to push against, and challenge, and practice with. Our students need these educational experiences to prepare for life after Trinity. And conservative students have every right to be here. They work to keep the community honest by offering alternative viewpoints to a left-leaning environment.
Like many of our students, they bring their own charm. They are bright, witty, self-deprecating, and thoughtful. Not to mention brave. They have their own legitimate issues with how they are treated on campus too. It isn’t easy speaking up sometimes. But that’s what college discourse is all about. It isn’t about free-speech zones (should be the whole campus), time-place-and-manner policies, hate-speech codes, and safe spaces. The last thing we need is to keep driving hate into the shadows. When we do, it doesn’t go away. It just hides.
According to The San Antonio Express News, Wendt claimed that the flyers being returned was an attempt an intimidation despite the university quickly reaffirming their commitment to protecting free expression on campus.
Though Jonah Wendt largely chalked the incident up as an immature “hissy fit” and anti-Trump “liberal projection,” he and his brother still filed a report with campus police, alleging harassment. Wendt feels slightly uncomfortable that students who clearly do not like him know where he lives.
“This is a clear attempt at intimidation,” Wendt said.
Trinity takes claims of harassment seriously and is looking into the incident, said university spokeswoman Sharon Jones Schweitzer.
“The university works very hard to create an environment in which a variety of perspectives are allowed to be expressed,” she said. “The Tigers for Liberty event is an example of that.”
Conservative students are increasingly claiming victim status in response to minor transgressions. A recent column in The New York Times by Professor Aaron Hanlon argued that some conservatives are inclined to do so because the student victim narrative plays well with conservative media outlets.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about education and social justice for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org