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Marquette University threatened to rescind student’s admission over pro-Trump TikTok video

UPDATED

Soon to be Marquette University freshman Samantha Pfefferle has yet to even step foot on campus, yet she said she is already facing possible dismissal from the school.

The threat to cancel Pfefferle’s admission came after she posted a video to her account on the popular social media site TikTok showing her support for President Donald Trump.

The video, titled “When the libs find their way to your page,” lists captions such as “When people see that I support Trump,” “Then try to hate on me,” and “And think I’ll change my views,” over a video of Pfefferle dancing.

The video features a Trump 2020 flag as well as a sign reading “Marquette 2024.” The song used in the video is rapper 6ix9ine’s GOOBA, and plays lyrics such as “ He’s mad, she’s’ mad, big sad, haha, don’t care, stay mad.”

Pfefferle’s post has been watched nearly 600,000 times and has since caught the attention of the Marquette community, some of whom began harassing Pfefferle. Others threatened her life.

“I hope you get shot,” one commenter told Pfefferle. “I’d pray for you but you’re not worth it,” another user added.

“I was extremely disappointed by the incendiary comments,” Pfefferle told The College Fix in an interview. “The response from my peers has been repulsive.”

Pfefferle explained that following the TikTok, she was contacted by Brian Troyer, dean of undergraduate admissions at Marquette, who she said told her her acceptance to the school was far from certain.

“[He] had the heart to tell me I wasn’t a student,” Pfefferle said. “This means that my classification is still in limbo and is currently being decided by the administration. I have been accepted, I paid for my housing, I have my roommates, I even have a complete class schedule. If that doesn’t make me a student, what does?”

Some Marquette administrators also asked Pfefferle a series of questions meant to judge her morals, she said.

“They also asked me hypothetical questions regarding Dreamers,” she said. “How would I respond if a Dreamer who lived down the hall from me came up to me and told me she didn’t feel safe or comfortable with my views and me being on campus. They also asked me if they thought there was anything I could do to improve my image on campus. They proceeded to ask if I was comfortable with the reputation I have established for myself. The assistant dean asked if I put any thought into the response I would be getting from my videos.”

The College Fix reached out to Marquette University, which did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

A Marquette spokeswoman told Empower Wisconsin that the school had not rescinded Pfefferle’s offer, although acknowledged “the admissions team did recently have a conversation with incoming freshman Samantha Pfefferle about statements made on her social media accounts.”

Other social media users are beginning to band together against Pfefferle as well.

An Instagram user has since created a copy and paste email template requesting to have Pfefferle’s admission rescinded from Marquette and is encouraging others to send the email to Marquette’s administration. It states in part:

Ms. Pfefferle has been very vocal on social media (TikTok, Instagram) about how she is enthusiastic about coming to Marquette in the Fall. As a Marquette student who is passionate for the University’s core values, such as Cura Personalis, and recognizing everyone’s human dignity, these transphobic, racist, and xenophobic comments should not be tolerated.

These comments made by Ms. Pfefferle were shared publicly, and were clearly presented as mocking jokes. Ms. Pfefferle is obviously proud of her statements, as she stands behind her words in every post.

These comments create and perpetuate an unsafe space for the LGBTQ+ community, first generation students, and Dreamers at Marquette.

Samantha Pfefferle is proud of her transphobic and xenophobic opinions, which under no circumstances should be allowed at Marquette. The University can and should make it their priority to ensure students (specifically LGBTQ+, immigrants, first gen, and POC) feel safe, valued, and appreciated on campus.

Commenters on TikTok are also continuing to express their disapproval of Pfefferle’s conservative views.

“how can i help. she will not be going to college next year,” wrote a commenter. “Free speech does not mean no consequences,” commented another. “i love love LOVE conservatives getting their school offers revoked,” added one user.

Pfefferle is not alone in her fight to attend Marquette, however, as a petition on Change.org titled “Stop Marquette University From Removing Incoming Conservative Student for Her Beliefs” aims to keep her enrolled.

“Freedom of expression is the most fundamental of all rights,” the petition states. “What precedence are we setting for future conservative generations? We can’t afford to capitulate in the face of tyranny when our youth are depending on us to protect their rights.”

“Since when did one’s political leanings make a difference as to whether or not one can attend a college?” one petition signer asked.

The call to action, which has reached more than 1,200 supporters in seven days, petitions the Republican National Committee along with 16 other famous conservatives including former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, President Donald Trump, and conservative talk show host Sean Hannity, to help spread awareness of Pfefferle’s fight.

When asked her plans for this fall, Pfefferle explained she still hopes to attend Marquette.

“I still would like to attend Marquette University,” she said. “However, because of the death threats, bullying, and harassment, this transition will be difficult to make. As of right now, I’m being left in the dark as to how Marquette is addressing the harassment.”

Editor’s note: After publication Tuesday, Pfefferle reached out to The College Fix and said that the school on Monday finally told her it would not revoke her admissions. Campus officials still have not responded to numerous requests from The Fix for comment. 

MORE: Marquette revokes admission of student who compared kneeling during anthem to George Floyd’s death

IMAGE: Change.org

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About the Author
Jackson Walker is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin majoring in English creative writing. In addition to The College Fix, Jackson also writes for UW student newspaper the Badger Herald. Outside of classes, Jackson keeps busy with his involvement in the UW Marching band, which has taken him to two NFL stadiums and the Rose Bowl.

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