A student senator at USC (University of Southern California) has avoided facing formal charges but had his stipend removed as a result of organising a talk by Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos at the university.
Jacob Ellenhorn, who sits on the student senate, faced an enquiry after the event took place, and while the senate allowed him to remain in office, they voted 9-2 to withhold the rest of his stipend.
It is understood the decision was taken as a punishment for Ellenhorn expressing his conservative political views in public.
“After hearing the truth about the false charges brought up against [me] by Diana Jimenez, my fellow senators decided to vote against my impeachment,” Jacob Ellenhorn told Campus Reform in a statement. “That said, while they have voted against removing me from office, they have decided to still punish me for my political views, and for exercising my First Amendment right to speak with members of the press. As part of this official punishment the last $250 installment of my $2 thousand stipend will be withheld.”
Ellenhorn faced three separate charges for his role in the event. The first charge asserted that Ellenhorn had not behaved transparently in arranging meetings between the Senate Program Board and three Jewish students “who had accused the head of the Women’s Assembly of student groups at USC of deliberately excluding Jewish speakers from a non-partisan event on campus.”
His second charge was for violating the ‘USC Code of Ethics’ by inviting Yiannopoulos, a “speaker who perpetuated inflammatory claims and created a hostile environment that detracted from healthy debate,” the senators wrote in their official impeachment ruling.
The ruling continued, “The senators believe that bringing in speakers with differing views encourages healthy discourse on campus and supports intellectual diversity. However, these speakers should not make sexist and derogatory comments that strive to alienate students on campus; this also violates the USC Principles of Community.”
His final charge was on his filming of the event. “Senator Ellenhorn disobeyed filming codes for a Program Board event,” the decision states. “Senators disagreed on the meaning of this violation but agreed that Senator Ellenhorn should not have purposely filmed an event he intended to vilify, as it does not contribute to a respectful environment at the University.”
The senators could not agree on whether the “violations” justified his removal from office, although they voted by 9-2 to “express that his actions were inappropriate and irresponsible” and to deny Ellenhorn the remainder of his stipend so that the “decision would serves as [a] model for the whole organization to promote intellectually diverse dialogue without partisan bias and alienation.”
Ellenhorn, who donates all of his stipend to veterans, said he would take $250 out of his own pocket to ensure that the senate’s decision did not take away from the charity.
“Since the beginning of my term I had made the decision to donate all $2,000 of my stipend to a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, the Wounded Warriors Project,” he explained, adding, “I do still plan on making a $2,000 donation and will use the $250 I earned while working over last summer to fulfill that amount.”
“Individuals who enter public service do so because they care deeply about their community, not about stipends,” he declared.
The decision raises further questions about U.S universities’ willingness to allow conservative voices on campus. Yiannopoulos’s tour of American universities has also caused considerable controversy at the likes of Rutgers, the University of Pittsburgh, and Bucknell.