As part of a series about students voting in the 2020 election, Bates College in Maine posted photos to its Instagram account of various student organizations. The problem? Exactly one photo was of a College Republican leader at the school.
Hundreds of students protested the photo, even holding a rally. School officials deleted the post and apologized for daring to highlight a student who didn’t hold left-leaning opinions. The school’s president even appeared at a rally to apologize for the photo.
The Bates Student, the college’s student newspaper, reported that the college planned to profile one student per day ahead of the election and that the College Republican was the third student profiled.
“On Oct. 23, the Bates Communications Office posted a slideshow featuring eleven students who were voting in their first presidential election. They planned to post a profile of one student a day leading up to the election on the Bates College Instagram,” the paper reported. “The post profiling the president of Bates College Republicans was only the third of the profiles to be posted, and at that point, it was the only post that referenced a student organization affiliated with a political party.”
Eleven students were set to be profiled, the outlet reported, and all but one of them were from neutral or left-leaning student organizations, yet students didn’t let the series continue once they saw the College Republican.
As The College Fix reported, school officials spoke at a rally to apologize for the photo.
“To be clear, that’s not where it should stop…I need to do more work, my colleagues need to do more work,” said Sean Findlen, a spokesperson for the school.
Bates president Clayton Spencer also attended the October 30 rally to apologize.
“It was incredibly insensitive of me to speak out about the election without taking that into account,” Spencer said, referring to the “added harm, fear, and feelings of unsafety inflicted on the Bates community,” that the election supposedly caused.
Students weren’t satisfied with the apologies and the deletion of the post, however, the Fix reported.
“They demanded a series of changes from the university, one of which included a deletion of the post,” the Fix reported. “The unmet demands include a ‘direct stance against racism with a commitment to anti-racism work,’ a promise ‘from all affiliated Bates student organizations to [engage in] anti-racism work’ and a required course in critical race theory for all students.”
Instead of teaching students that ideas and beliefs that differ from their own are not a form of violence, the college caved and reinforced those illiberal demands.
For years, students across the country have made assumptions about their fellow students based on their political leanings, yet colleges and universities have done nothing to actually educate those who insist those with right-leaning ideologies are evil. Instead, schools have reinforced those beliefs by acquiescing to angry students.