Leaked texts from College Republicans under 'review' by college administration

  • A Twitter account posted multiple screenshots from a private Ripon College Republicans group chat.
  • The school assured the public that its Bias Incident Response Team would investigate the screenshots.

 Ripon College officials are investigating the school’s College Republicans after private communications were leaked via Twitter in advance of a visit from Vice President Mike Pence.

Twitter user @Ermi_97 leaked screenshots of a College Republican private chat, claiming Pence’s visit would damage the campus.

“Leaking messages written by others will almost certainly have a chilling effect on speech."   

“Ripon college Republicans have used this to fuel the hate against other students in the campus. This is why events like these are dangerous for current students. These students should be held accountable for their comments, sadly I do not trust @riponcollege to do that...."  


 



“This same group,” the account continued, “Ripon college Republicans, have been making fun and targeting minority groups including Native Americans and the BLM movement. The college has allowed these students to feel comfortable making such remarks. This is not a safe environment for minority students....”



 


The leaked conversations show members of the club joking about creating a "Conservative v. Liberal boxing ring" and calling another student a "commie." 

[RELATED: WATCH: Young Americans willing to give up First Amendment rights to avoid offending others]

The official university Twitter account responded to tweets containing the leaked screenshots, assuring the community that “Ripon College administration has been made aware of the comments within,” and that “College policy dictates that incidents such as this will be submitted to the Bias Incident Response Team for review.”

“The process has been initiated and the situation will be reviewed. Please refer to the bias related incident protocol on our website…” the university account later added.

Ripon’s Bias-Related Incident Protocol, claims that the school is "committed to free speech and open exchange of ideas and views, as reflected in the institution’s Core Values," and acknowledges that "This commitment requires the confrontation of challenging issues in the context of civil discourse and intellectual inquiry." The same policy immediately clarifies that "behavior that exceeds the bounds of appropriate discourse and civil conduct will not be tolerated," and that "Ripon College is dedicated to maintaining a community free from all forms of harassment, hostility, and intolerance."

The Ripon College Republicans declined to comment for this story, citing its decision to wait for the Bias Response team’s decision.

[RELATED: Survey: Most students favor colleges restricting speech]

“Leaking messages written by others will almost certainly have a chilling effect on speech,” Director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's Individual Rights Defense Program Adam Steinbaugh told Campus Reform. “People form groups and share messages in confidence, expecting that others will not share them. But unless there is a legally binding agreement to keep something confidential, the act of 'leaking' messages is protected speech. That incidental chilling effect, however, is compounded by Ripon College's decision to investigate whether these messages violate law or policy.”

“Even the most cursory review of the messages reveals that they're no more than political banter,” Steinbaugh continued, “and Ripon College sends the message that its administration will scrutinize its students' political exchanges for violations of law if people complain. That's a chilling response to political speech, and unacceptable for an institution that promises its students freedom of expression.”

Ripon College did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication. 

Campus Reform reached out multiple times to the individual who posted the screenshots but did not receive a reply. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @arik_schneider



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Arik Schneider
Arik Schneider | California Senior Campus Correspondent

Arik Schneider is a California Senior Campus Correspondent and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. He attends University of California, Los Angeles.

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