Campus Free Speech

Conservative Students at Trinity Claim Harassment Over Nothing. Are You Happy Now, Liberals?

Snowflakes, snowflakes everywhere (even on the right).

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Snowflake
Natalia Lebedinskaia

Two conservative students at Trinity University are claiming victim status: they say they have been harassed because of their political views.

What happened? Some other students politely returned their flyers to them. That's it.

"These leftist intimidation tactics will not phase us," Jonah Wendt, director of the conservative Trinity group Tigers for Liberty, told Campus Reform. "Once again liberals show how tolerant they are for ideas that are not their own."

Please.

Amazingly, Jonah—who leads the group with his twin brother, Manfred—actually filed a harassment complaint with the campus police.

In summary: the Wendts are bringing conservative provocateur Dinesh D'Souza to speak at the San Antonio, Texas, campus. To advertise the event, the Wendts printed out 600 flyers and went dorm room to dorm room, distributing them. Many were returned, and placed in a neat stack outside the door of the Wendts' suite. The Wendts then opted to re-distribute the flyers.

This time, they were returned to the Wendts with scribbles and notes on them.

"Dear Wendts, keep your propaganda to yourself. We don't like it in our faces."

Some of the notes answered the flyer's implicit question—"What's So Great About America?"—with a variety of leftist responses: Elizabeth Warren, trans bathroom rights, pot.

They were civil responses, as far as I can tell. And these flyers weren't torn down from some public bulletin board: they were distributed to individual dwelling units. The students who reside there aren't obligated to keep a flyer they don't want.

The Wendts have two flags hanging on their door—someone turned them upside down.

For all of these reasons, the Wendts see themselves as harassment victims, according to The San Antonio Express-News:

Though Jonah Wendt largely chalked the incident up as an immature "hissy fit" and anti-Trump "liberal projection," he and his brother still filed a report with campus police, alleging harassment. Wendt feels slightly uncomfortable that students who clearly do not like him know where he lives.

"This is a clear attempt at intimidation," Wendt said.

Trinity takes claims of harassment seriously and is looking into the incident, said university spokeswoman Sharon Jones Schweitzer.

"The university works very hard to create an environment in which a variety of perspectives are allowed to be expressed," she said. "The Tigers for Liberty event is an example of that."

Trinity administrators, to their credit, have been incredibly supportive of the Wendts' free speech rights. Dean of Students David Tuttle has repeatedly defended them on his blog. This is a campus official who actually values ideological diversity:

Life would be simpler without Tigers For Liberty. I mean, it was. Many would say it was better. But what they deliver is an organization for others to push against, and challenge, and practice with. Our students need these educational experiences to prepare for life after Trinity. And conservative students have every right to be here. They work to keep the community honest by offering alternative viewpoints to a left-leaning environment.

Like many of our students, they bring their own charm. They are bright, witty, self-deprecating, and thoughtful. Not to mention brave. They have their own legitimate issues with how they are treated on campus too. It isn't easy speaking up sometimes. But that's what college discourse is all about. It isn't about free-speech zones (should be the whole campus), time-place-and-manner policies, hate-speech codes, and safe spaces. The last thing we need is to keep driving hate into the shadows. When we do, it doesn't go away. It just hides.

Tuttle is absolutely correct to make the Wendts' dissident viewpoint feel protected on campus. But that doesn't mean they should be immune from criticism. And make no mistake, that's all that happened here: liberal students took issue with the Wendts, as is their right.

When I complain that conservative students are borrowing the tactics of the irritated leftist who constantly whines about his (or zis) marginalization, this is what I'm talking about. Indeed, this has been my plea to leftist students: if you weaponize hurt feelings, you will eventually see this approach used against you.

Some will no doubt feel that leftists deserve to have the language of perpetual grievance turned against them, but promoting the idea that everything one dislikes is harassment will not make campus dialogue any healthier. The snowflakery on the left and the right must end.

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  1. Finally, a story that will give John a chubby.

    1. Only chubbies give John a chubby, it is known.

      1. John’s chubby rule is the opposite of Highlander: There can never be only one.

  2. Please.

    Robby said with a flip of his limp wrist.

  3. The right needs to stop doing this and also stop complaining when the left does this. Because surrender is the right strategy.

    :jackoff motion:

    1. Exactly.

  4. Their names are Jonah and Manfred?

    1. And they’re the conservatives?

    2. Obviously former Amish, Mennonites, or Quakers from PA. that ran afoul during their Rumspringa and ended up at Trinity.

      1. Their idea of Rumspringa was to try an electric pube trimmer.

    3. To be fair, they didn’t get to choose their names. A lot of little kids these days are going to be pissed off at their parents’ name selections, forever.

      1. Every Hunter, Cody, Caleb, Madison, and Zoe agree.

        There’s plenty of other examples of stupid names, but you get the idea.

        1. That’s pretty rich coming from someone name “Cynical Asshole”.

          1. IT’S A FAMILY NAME, GOD DAMMIT! *sobs*

  5. Jonah and Manfred are the conservatives?

    1. You know who else had a German name and became involved in a kerfuffle with their political opponents?

      1. Werner Herzog?

        1. So does Aguirre ever marry that raft full of monkeys?

      2. Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg?

      3. Doug Neidermeyer

      4. Johann Schmidt aka the Red Skull?

      5. Germans?

      6. Anthony Weiner?

      7. Angela Merkel?

      8. Mozart?

  6. keep your propaganda to yourself. We don’t like it in our faces

    Turnabout is fair play. Lesson learned?

    1. “Lesson learned?”
      Yeah…okay. Sure.

    2. Propaganda should remain in the classroom. Of mandatory sociology classes where you must express agreement with the propaganda to pass, thus collect your degree.

      These situations are totally equivalent.

    3. Lesson learned?

      That implies they have the capacity to learn.

  7. Is there any possibility that they’re doing this simply to illustrate how silly it is? Or maybe as a payback?

    I hope so. If they’re genuinely intimidated they should be genuinely embarrassed.

    1. I was wondering the same thing. It would be hard for conservatives, who read blogs, etc. not to run into two or three examples of snowflakes per day online and in other media.

    2. That’s my uneducated guess.

    3. If I were going to college now, with decades of cynicism buildup, I’d be trolling the grievance system every day, every class, just to force the proggies to have to confront the other side. I’d probably be expelled, but that would be just fine.

  8. “Snowflakes, snowflakes everywhere (even on the right).”

    Yeah, I think it’s a given that what two students at Trinity College do is indicative of what’s happening on the right.

    How could it not be?

    1. Come now, we’ve all stated at some point or another, in some way or another, that the actions of other students elsewhere is indicative of what’s happening on the left.

    2. Are you suggesting that one example compared to dozens of daily examples which include explicit violence is somehow a false equivalency?

      You don’t get to audition for job with the Washington Post by not trafficking in absurd comparisons.

  9. Though Jonah Wendt largely chalked the incident up as an immature “hissy fit” and anti-Trump “liberal projection,” he and his brother still filed a report with campus police, alleging harassment.

    They are just doing as instructed, acting on not only what they have been taught and told, but seen through the national media that you yourself publish, Rob. That’s not an attack on you, it’s just the reality of the situation.

    The meek have inherited the earth and yet human harm perpetuates. God help the right.

  10. For a perspective on the campus free speech debate that isn’t modernist, narrow-minded navel gazing by a barely qualified child-journalist that repeats the same social signalling and empty rhetoric over and over, I recommend the very insightful take by one Heroic Mulatto that is present on some other site.

    1. modernist, narrow-minded navel gazing by a barely qualified child-journalist that repeats the same social signalling and empty rhetoric over and over

      Sick burn, yo.

      1. Why on earth would you want an insightful analysis into the long standing nature of educational institutions and their relationship with free speech when you can instead have the vapid and shallow breakdown of singular campus events by one Robert Soave?

        1. insightful analysis into the long standing nature of educational institutions and their relationship with free speech

          Because that’s what HM offers and you agree with him so he totes the smartypants.

          Honestly, I don’t care.

    2. We Demand to be Taken Seriously!

      1. Taken how?

        1. By someone with a particular set of skills?

      2. Crusty, keep up that attitude and I will time-rape you again.

    3. Some other site got banhammered at my place of work today.

      1. My thoughts and prayers are with some other site.

      2. Whoa. Do tell.

        1. “This content has been blocked. Category: Entertainment”

    4. Do you ever feel embarrassed for yourselves that you’re stuck debating politics with people who are of an age when they’re just starting to explore drinking and sexuality?

      1. Do you ever feel embarrassed than all you can offer up is hissy fits and insults more reflective of your own insecurities than anything else?

        1. You should have said “What does that say about you spending all this time debating us?” To which I would have said “Touche.”

          1. I’m not particularly interested what you think is a worthy response, given the quality of the content you produce.

  11. “Once again liberals show how tolerant they are for ideas that are not their own.”

    Please.

    I mean, seriously. Its not like they’re smashing up conservatives property and boasting “What are you going to do about it?” while wearing cutoff tank-tops or something.

  12. Dad, do not send your spawn to college. That’s overall message I’m getting. Mom thinks otherwise. What do I have to do, tune her up? Otherwise I’m fond of the gal.

  13. Some will no doubt feel that leftists deserve to have the language of perpetual grievance turned against them, but promoting the idea that everything one dislikes is harassment will not make campus dialogue any healthier.

    I don’t see why it wouldn’t. As long as the left never has to worry about these tactics being turned against them, why would they ever stop using them? The left is never going to agree to an honest dialog unless circumstances force them to do so.

    Robby is just incredibly nieve. He seems to actually believe that the left will be reasonable if only the right gives them the opportunity. No, if the left were reasonable, they would not be acting the way they are. The only way to get them to act reasonable is to force them to do so by using their own tactics against them.

    Just because Progressives are nice to ou and are your friends, doesn’t mean they are reasonable Robby.

    1. You’re a little late. You’ve got some shit flinging to catch up on.

    2. Replace “the left” with “the Jews” and see what a fucking asshole you sound like.

      1. That has got to be the dumbest comment that was attempting to be deep in the history of this site. Congratulations, you make Robbie look like a genius.

        That belongs in the nonsense hall of fame.

        1. That’s what John and everyone like him is: a lazy Nazi. Yeah, they don’t march, they’re fat, they have diabetes, but with what little energy they can muster from their pee-stained recliners they will denounce the menace du jour in proper fascist language, and fascists always target leftists (and academics) alongside whatever racial targets they conjure up. The only reason this country is not going to be taken over by a totalitarian state is because our population is too fucking fat to goose-step. Lazy. Nazis.

          1. Dude, you’re hilarious. I’m glad you migrated here from Vox. It’s pretty similar now.

          2. “Replace “the left” with {“the 1%”, “greedy capitalists”, “free marketers”, …} and see what a fucking asshole you sound like.”

            1. My rhetoric is not as eliminationist, i.e., Marxist revolutionary, in the way that Trumpians’ is Nazi-like. They really, really hate us, alongside a potpourri of racial minorities. False equivalence is for idiots.

              1. So you’re accusing them of having good taste?

    3. One of the problems with tit-for-tat, is that both sides wind up morally culpable in endorsing the tit-for-tat tactics.

  14. So conservatives do something irksome, and it’s liberals’ fault. Oh, it must be reason fucking magazine.

  15. Oh look, Robby sides with the fascists.

    What a shock.

    1. It’s cute how everyone thinks the other guys are the fascists. And how unbelievably ignorant most everyone is of what fascism is.

      1. I generally describe people who desire things similar to the things the fascists desired as fascists. Things such as government control of private businesses, strict controls on speech, the press, and assembly. People who would see a statement like ‘all within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state’ as acceptable.

        And those people are always on the left.

  16. conservative provocateur Dinesh D’Souza

    I’m offering 6/5 odds that a reason writer (cough cough dalmia) labels D’Souza “alt-right” before this year is out.

    1. Burn the provocateurs!

  17. Let’s get one thing straight, nobody does “the language of perpetual grievance” like the Right. It is the entirety of their worldview. They have no belief but “liberals are destroying us all!” It’s nothing but whine whine whine on FOX News and talk radio. You sit there and listen with an open mind for a few minutes and try and tell me otherwise. Why people don’t see this is a complete mystery to me.

    1. It’s nothing but whine whine whine

      Irony would like to have a word with you.

      1. ha ha ha…Irony has been pretty busy lately!

      2. Irony is no longer taught in colleges. It is a form of Western oppression. And when everything is relative how can anything be ironic.

        1. Did they teach you what goes on in real colleges at Glenn Beck U?

          1. Yes, I went to Glenn Beck U. That’s a good one. We can’t all have received advanced degrees in Gender Studies like yourself.

            I love how ridiculous you are and, yet, still sincere in your stupidity.

            1. You have no idea how sincere I am.

              1. We have no doubts as to your sincerity…

    2. There’s actually some insight here, when it comes to the right being defined as opposition to the left. However is not the left analogously defined as opposition to the establishment? Where right wing media is all about outrages behavior of leftists, isn’t the left wing media packed with outrages they care about?

      Also you presume that the right is as personally invested in their politics as the left is. Hasn’t seemed that way to me. There are freaking college majors in purely progressive themes (e.g., identity studies and social justice, yes a major in some places, and a source of courses practically everywhere). What do the snotty little college conservatives waste their education studying? Oh right they major in practical professions.

  18. Some will no doubt feel that leftists deserve to have the language of perpetual grievance turned against them, but promoting the idea that everything one dislikes is harassment will not make campus dialogue any healthier

    I fail to see how only letting one side do it is any healthier.

    1. Because ‘feelz’. I don’t get what you’re not understanding

  19. ha ha ha…I believe this is a form of trolling.

  20. Feels like Robby bullshit.

    ( Aaaaaaand, yes it is. Robby goes full on #VeryFakeNews, completing distorting this event by cherry picking elements of the story to display and leave out. Truly scumbaggery. Compare it to a fuller story here:
    Trinity students deface D’Souza flyers to protest ‘propaganda’
    )

    I think a relevant question is “Who returned the flyers?”

    Robby says:

    The students who reside there aren’t obligated to keep a flyer they don’t want.

    True. But did were the flyers removed from each door by the residents *behind that door*, or were they en masse *from other people’s doors* by a few activists who defaced them and returned them.

    Aaaaaaand, per the *honest* story, see the *full quote* by :
    “Dear Wendts [sic], keep your propaganda to yourself. We don’t like it in our faces,” and “I knocked but you weren’t here. I found your lost stuff and figured I’d return it. Have a good day.”

    So these were not returned by the residents, but by some douchebag silencing their attempt to advertise the talk they were holding.

    The Wendts have two flags hanging on their door?someone turned them upside down

    Interesting that Robby doesn’t identify the flags turned upside down. Turning an American Flag upside down is an emergency symbol of extreme distress, and otherwise considered a desecration of the flag.

    1. Doing it to *another person’s* flag is desecration, similar to setting it on fire, and certainly a violation of their free speech rights.

      Aaaaaaand, whaddya know, it was an American flag they turned upside down.

      “Dear Wendts, keep your propaganda to yourself. We don’t like it in our faces.”

      So, telling them to shut up when they advertise a political talk, talking down their flyers, and desecrating their flag.

      Suppose a Muslim student had advertised a talk from CAIR, and someone took down his advertisements, desecrated the Koran he kept on a table next to his door, and left notes saying “keep your propaganda to yourself”, and “I knocked and you weren’t there”.

      Would this reasonably be considered a threat?

      Think Robby would be calling that Muslim student a “snowflake” for complaining and filing a police report?

      Reason is increasingly #VeryFakeNews

      1. Won’t SOMEBODY think of our flags??

        1. Whatever you may think of the US flag, it means something to some people, much like Bibles and Korans mean something to other people.

          As a libertarian, you should at least recognize it as *their property* that no one else has a right to fuck with.

    2. Does seem like I am having to set aside time just to verify the ‘facts’ in Reason articles.

      1. Yeah, I find that I’m not coming to Reason to get information, but to correct misinformation. It’s sad to see Reason go down the toilet. My impulse is to do what I can to keep it alive as an honest and rational outfit.

        At some point I suppose I’ll accept that Reason has turned into HuffPo with a different color scheme, and just move on.

    3. From the campus reform link:

      “We’re okay If [sic] you make yourselves look bad, However [sic] when you bring controversial speakers to Trinity and put Trinity in a bad light. [sic] It effects [sic] all of our own reputations and makes all of us look bad” another note said. “We work hard to keep our reputations looking nice and we don’t need you messing them up.”

      The person who wrote that is, presumably, a High School graduate. Let that sink in.

    4. So these were not returned by the residents, but by some douchebag silencing their attempt to advertise the talk they were holding.

      How do you figure?

      1. ” I found your lost stuff and figured I’d return it. “

  21. My approach is that when someone offers me a flyer, I ask for extras. That way they will run out faster and leave.

    1. Mine is to just throw the trash away. Even if it’s a flyer for something I might be interested in, it’s still trash. Throw it away and move on with your life instead being a butthurt pussy.

      1. To clarify: I’m not saying you’re a butthurt pussy for asking for extras, I’m saying the butthurt pussies in this story who returned the flyers are butthurt pussies. It’s butthurt pussies all the way down.

        1. They’re college students. That’s what you people are whining about. The political proclivities of people who were children less than a year ago.

      2. “Trump calls media an enemy of the people, White House bars many news outlets from briefing.”
        BIG butthurt pussy!

  22. This is a spoof, right?

  23. Could it be that right-wing people do not wish to play on the SJW level, but have decided that if forced to play, they will play to win, even if it looks ridiculous?

  24. If it was the same person or small group who did all of thse things (repeatedly tracking down their flyers, dicking with their flag) then it would fall under harassment. Not much of a criminal level, but certainly far enough the school should step in and stop such creepy and personally-directed misbehavior, since schools shouldn’t let student groups veto others this way.

  25. “Dear Wendts, keep your propaganda to yourself. We don’t like it in our faces.”

    Here’s the double standard again. Their propaganda is in everyone’s face all the time with their full support.

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