News and Commentary

College Students Oppose Hiring Of New Safety Officer Because Of Conservative Tweets He Liked

Last month, the shared campus police department for Mount Holyoke and Smith College announced that it had hired Daniel Hect as the new police chief. Hect had previously served as director of public safety and chief of police for Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH, and in the same position at Denison University, also in Ohio.

The Mount Holyoke News website quoted from an Xavier article from January 17, 2018 that described Hect as someone who “believes that a job as a police officer isn’t confined to formalities, but efforts need to be made to engage with those you are sworn to protect.” When Hect was deciding whether to accept the position at Xavier, the campus website reported, he met with students three times to discuss their feelings toward campus police.

On February 6, Hect announced on his personal Twitter account that he had accepted the position at Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges.

“I am excited to announce I have accepted the position of Chief of Police at Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges, two of the most prestigious all women’s institutions in the nation,” he tweeted.

His latest “liked” tweet was from the director of student housing at Denison, who tweeted a photo of herself and a friend at the campus gym saying they “missed” him.

Despite this documented connection to the communities he has served, some Mount Holyoke students find Hect objectionable — because he appears to lean to the Right and support President Donald Trump.

One student, who did not respond to a Daily Wire request for comment, posted photos of tweets Hect had liked as evidence that he was unfit for the position.

“Recently, Mount Holyoke College has hired a new chief of police named Daniel Hect. Despite multiple red flags found and raised by students during his hiring process, the administration still believes him to be an ideal choice for overseeing campus safety,” the student wrote. “Personally, I believe it’s unacceptable for someone in charge of keeping any community safe, let alone a campus as diverse as MHC’s, to be publicly displaying his support for hateful regimes and organizations, as well as for individuals who demonize migrants from Mexico or other latin american nations.”

The photos included a tweet from the National Rifle Association (NRA) wishing followers a Merry Christmas, many tweets from Trump talking about the border wall and supporters telling him to “stay the course” during the government shutdown, and another tweet from the NRA explaining, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

The student directed others to a campus meeting with Hect “for a forum with the man, the myth, the racist himself: Daniel Hect.”

Another student, who also refused to respond to a Daily Wire inquiry, shared the first student’s post and added that Hect’s Twitter likes “show his dangerous support of Trump, as well as anti-immigration (specifically latinx immigrants) and pro-gun sentiments” and declared that Hect “cannot keep this community safe.”

Hect appears to have been able to keep past campus communities safe despite his support for guns and border security (he is a police officer, after all).

Though there was some discussion about students writing an op-ed objecting to Hect, no such op-ed appears to have been written.

The Mount Holyoke and Smith police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.