GOP leader says ‘hate speech’ probe is ‘political witch hunt’
Butler University is investigating its College Republicans chapter for alleged “hate speech” after the conservative students said pro-Palestinian protesters were supporting “terrorists” in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, a new report found.
The private Indiana university told the Butler College Republicans that their chapter could receive a warning or be disbanded as a result of the complaint, The Daily Signal reported.
Chris Elmore, chairman of the Indiana Federation of College Republicans, said last week that the investigation is a “political witch hunt,” and the university should apologize.
“When bureaucratic university demagogues can erase the civil rights of those they disagree with, one wonders how these lessons will be reflected in the next generation of leaders,” Elmore said in a statement published Dec. 14 on Facebook.
Allegedly, the Butler College Republicans made “egregious false allegations” when the group accused the Butler Students for Justice in Palestine of celebrating “terrorism, terrorist attacks, and chant[ing] pro-Hamas slogans,” the university Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion stated in an Oct. 30 letter, obtained by The Daily Signal.
In an Oct. 13 Instagram post, the conservative student group also allegedly falsely accused SJP of supporting “kidnapping, rape, murder and beheading of Israeli citizens” by Hamas terrorists, according to the letter.
The College Republicans’ post responded to an Oct. 12 protest by the Butler SJP where some students chanted, “Not a victim, not a crime! They said the chant was an “attempt to justify the cold-blooded attacks by an internationally designated terrorist organization on innocent civilians,” according to The Daily Signal.
The report continues:
According to copies of official emails and letters obtained by The Daily Signal, members of Students for Justice in Palestine filed a complaint Oct. 15 with Azure Swinford, Butler’s associate director for institutional equity and Title IX coordinator, asserting that the College Republicans’ condemnation incited violence against “Muslim and Palestinian” students.
University spokesman Mark Apple told The Daily Signal that they do not comment publicly on bias investigations, and the university publicly condemned the Hamas terrorist attack after it occurred.
Apple said the university will not tolerate “antisemitism, Islamophobia, hate speech, threats, and acts of violence,” and “ensuring the safety of our students remains our top priority.”
But Elmore with the Indiana Federation of College Republicans said the Butler students did not say anything wrong, and the university violated their right to free speech when it told them to remove the Instagram post.
“Our organization stands with the plight of the Jewish people, the sentiments expressed in the Butler University College Republican statement, and the civil rights of all college students, regardless of where they are placed on the political spectrum,” Elmore said.
IMAGE: Butler Students for Justice in Palestine/Instagram