10 years of Campus Reform: The most outrageous stories we've covered so far
Campus Reform marked its tenth anniversary in 2019, so to commemorate the occasion and the end of the decade, we've compiled some of our most memorable and outrageous stories we've reported on so far.
1. “Trigglypuff” – University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2016)
Who can forget the individual who was given the nickname “Trigglypuff” after yelling “fuck you” and “hate speech is not welcome here” while flailing her arms? The event at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst featured Christina Hoff Sommers, Milo Yiannapoulos, and Steven Crowder, along with numerous protesters interrupting throughout the night.
The individual yelled, “Stop talking to us like children” and Hoff Sommers replied, “Then stop acting like a child!”
2. Gender-inclusive housing and LGBTQ minor– University of Minnesota, Duluth (2015)
In 2015, the very same year that the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling on gay marriage, effectively making it legal in all 50 states, the University of Minnesota-Duluth began to offer gender-inclusive housing and an LGBTQ minor for students. In order to complete the minor, students were required to take an Introduction to LGBTQ studies, Queer Media, and more. The university also converted on-campus apartments into gender-inclusive housing, which was originally intended for LGBTQ students, but the student association president, the LGBT services director, and director of housing and residence life changed that saying that everyone could benefit from it.
3. Arrested for handing out Constitutions – Kellogg Community College (2017)
Three students were arrested for handing out pocket Constitutions at Kellogg Community College. The manager of Student Life said that they could not talk to students because it could “obstruct the student’s ability to get an education.” Isaac Edikauskas, the Young Americans for Liberty State Chair in Michigan at the time asked a student, “Do you like freedom and liberty” and the student replied, “sure”, but the Student Life manager said that the students considered the question too “provocative” and the student was heading to an “educational place." Police soon surrounded the students and asked them to leave. The students questioned the police about what law they were violating and were told they were "violating the school structure.”
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against KCC, and the college paid $55K to settle the lawsuit.
4. “Jesus Loves You” hearts – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (2018 – 2019)
Wisconsin student Polly Olsen was labeled “disruptive” for handing out hearts on Valentine’s Day with phrases such as “Jesus Loves You” and “You are Special”, but a campus security officer told her that she could only hand out the Valentines in the reserved “free speech area." Olsen said the “free speech zone” was the size of “two buses next to each other” and that nobody “congregates there." She handed out these Valentines in memory of her late mother, who started the tradition of handing out the hearts before her passing. Olsen won her lawsuit in September 2019.
5. Second Amendment zone – University of Utah (2018)
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, a Utah teaching assistant tried to create a small area in the back of the classroom for those who legally carry guns in the back of a classroom. The syllabus stated, “If you feel that it is somehow at all appropriate to bring a gun to class (hint: it is not—this is absurd, antisocial, and frightening behavior), you are restricted to spending your time in class in my ‘second amendment zone’ a 3x3 taped square on the floor in the very back of the classroom, that will be shared with all other gun carriers.” The area also had no desk. A student brought this to the attention of a state legislator who made the issue public. The University of Utah then reassigned the teaching assistant to “non-teaching duties." Students are allowed to carry a gun as long as they have a permit or license, according to Utah law and university policy.
6. Law school professors cancel class to allow students to protest Kavanaugh – Yale Law School (2018)
Law school professors at Yale canceled classes to allow students to protest now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings. One Yale Law School student posted tweets about the cancelations, and students protesting on campus and in Washington, D.C. Students not only protested Kavanaugh, who is a Yale alumnus, but also the school’s “implicit endorsement of [Kavanaugh], and our administration’s complicity in widespread sexual harassment in the legal profession.”
7. Former Leadership Institute employee gets phone damaged – University of Michigan (2017)
Charles Murray’s event at the University of Michigan was shut down by protesters. Murray was only able to speak for a short time, while protesters kept disrupting the event. One Leadership Institute Field Representative at the time, Nathan Berning, was confronted by protesters while documenting the protests. He was allegedly assaulted and had his phone knocked out of his hand. Someone then threw the phone from where the protests were being held to the street “below." The incident was caught on video.
8. Stories about Trump protests and classes/meetings cancelled over Trump win (2017 - 2018)
After President Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential race in 2016, classes around the nation were canceled and many students protested after and even up to and after Inauguration Day in January 2017.
Canceled Classes/Meetings: A professor at the University of Rochester canceled his meetings with students and said in an email, “To be perfectly honest, I have a hard time justifying today sitting face-to-face with you and saying with a straight face: ‘Yes, some of our lives and livelihoods are literally in more danger today than they were yesterday, but hey-let’s talk about your thesis statement.”
Another professor at the University of Connecticut said she would not take roll and that the “election process has been particularly trying for many people.” An Iowa State University professor canceled class and called the election “one of the most shocking events in history.
Protests: The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work encouraged students to attend an anti-Trump rally for extra credit, including free transportation to the rally. The University of California-Santa Cruz held a week-long “People’s Inauguration” protesting Trump’s election.
And, at the University of California, Irvine professors canceled classes to allow students to protest Trump.
9. The many speaker protests at University of California, Berkeley (2017)
This would not be an “outrageous stories” list without mentioning incidents at the University of California, Berkeley.
At the school where the “Free Speech Movement” began, violent protests erupted when conservative groups at UC-Berkeley invited speakers such as Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, David Horowitz, and Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. The UC-Berkeley College Republicans canceled the David Horowitz event after the initial cancellation of the Milo Yiannopoulos event (Yiannopoulous still spoke later that year), and Ann Coulter was canceled but spoke in November 2019.
Shapiro was still able to speak on campus in September 2017 with Young Americans for Freedom. During the same year, conservative students were also allegedly hounded, stalked by Antifa, and an Antifa member filed a restraining order against a former UC-Berkeley College Republicans president.
10. Hayden Williams (2019) – University of California, Berkeley (2019)
Probably one of the most well-known campus incidents of the decade happened when former Leadership Institute Field Representative Hayden Williams suffered a punched to the face while helping table for Turning Point USA and holding a sign that said “hate crime hoaxes hurt real victims” referencing the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. He was called “racist…b*tch”, “c**t”, “motherf*cker”, etc. The man who punched Williams was eventually arrested and charged. At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trumpinvited Williams to the stage and announced thesigning of the free speech executive order, which was signed later that month.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @francesanne123