Social justice warriors on campus erupted after a college Republican Group created a display with material highlighting conservative viewpoints on April 18, including a quote from Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro in which he stated transgenderism was a mental illness.
At Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, the Hood College Republicans club used a glass case in the Whitaker Student Center to display material that discussed abortion and transgenderism, including this quote from Shapiro about transgenderism:
Transgender people are unfortunately suffering from a significant mental illness, and it is not a solution to pretend that transgender people are the sex that they think they are in their head. Biology is biology; men can’t magically become women and women can’t magically become men.
Other statements in the display included a poster showing a black female toddler, captioned, “Let’s talk about race... abortion is the number one killer of black lives in the United States,” while another statement read, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”
The display was intended to remain for one week, but immediately after it was exhibited, leftist critics complained, including Lynda Sowbel, a teacher in the college’s social work program, attacking Shapiro, saying, “Some of these things might make students who are here feel threatened, and that’s not OK,” while Hanan Zinab, president of the Hood Black Student Union, attacked the statements regarding abortion, saying, “For me, it’s not freedom of speech. It’s freedom of hatred.”
Hood College President Andrea Chapdelaine sent an email to students, faculty and staff on April 20. She released a statement in which she wrote:
Our first step was to give the college Republicans time to reflect on the effect their messages had on our community and offered them the opportunity to remove the offending messages. The students remained firm that their display should remain unchanged… Therefore, I have requested that we follow college procedures to determine if these messages have violated policy, with appropriate sanctions to follow should such a determination be made.
Christopher Gardner, president of the college Republicans, responded that it was “unfortunate” some students were hurt by the messages in the display, but said the point was to stimulate a conversation. He stated, “We just wanted to provoke thoughtful discussion. We have done that.” He pointed out that there would be a meeting of the Republicans club on April 23 and all were invited. He also stated that the statements in the display didn’t reflect everything that individual members of the club believed. He concluded, “This is an issue over the First Amendment. This is the right to the freedom of speech and association. They say, ‘You know as awful as we think some of these things are or even if we disagree, these are some things that should be said,’ because people do think these things and should be discussed.”
On Sunday, Hood College Republicans met and heard leftist students bash them for the display; Gabrielle Cavalier, the vice president of the Hood College Democrats, complained, “When you’re saying that transgender people are mentally ill, you’re threatening their livelihood. When you say that abortion is genocide, you’re calling any woman who gets an abortion a murderer. If you want a discussion, why not talk about things like the transgender bathroom bill or Neil Gorsuch, who was just elected to the Supreme Court? That’s what’s being voted on.”
“This is an issue over the First Amendment. This is the right to the freedom of speech and association."
Christopher Gardner, president of the Hood College Republicans
But Brendan Mahoney, the treasurer of the Republican club, replied, “Just because you find it hateful doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a discussion. If this is what it took to get everyone up and talking, then I’m glad we did it.” Angela Vines, a senior member of the club, added, “On a campus as liberal as Hood, it’s hard for us to express our views without being labeled a racist or a bigot. We knew people were going to be upset, but we didn’t expect people to lash out the way they lashed out... It shows that conservative values aren’t nearly as accepted on campus as other values.”
Chapdelaine and other senior administrators plan to speak at a forum on Tuesday.