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My leftist peers tore down my ‘Free Speech, Even When You Hate To Hear It’ flyers

OPINION: ‘If we did the same thing to leftist groups, you can bet we would be hauled into administrators’ offices and given stern warnings’

Within 24 hours of hanging up flyers promoting an upcoming event on my campus focused on “Free Speech, Even When You Hate To Hear It” — they were vandalized and torn down.

As president of the Turning Point USA chapter at West Virginia University, I spent nearly two hours designing and picking up the flyers to advertise our upcoming event Oct. 2 with Justine Brooke Murray.

We hung them around several buildings, including Oglebay Hall. When I woke up Thursday morning and went to class — I saw they were all taken down throughout most of the buildings.

I am pretty sure I know who did it. Wednesday night we caught a couple of the culprits red-handed.

Our Turning Point USA chapter hosted a GOP presidential debate watch party in Oglebay Hall, and when we arrived at the room we reserved it was already occupied by a “WVU Peer Advocates ‘Consent Tea Party.’” The group is affiliated with the school’s DEI office to bring awareness to assault and consent.

To be polite, we decided to take the empty room next door to watch the debate.

Midway through, however, we noted one “Peer Advocate” had decided to rip down some of our Brooke Murray flyers.

We did not consent to them ripping down our flyers, however.

Later, as we left the building, we asked for the contact information for the Peer Advocate’s administrators to show them the video of members vandalizing our property. They called us fascists, laughed in our faces, and gave us a fake contact email.

It’s incredibly frustrating to see our hard work put into the flyers — funded by others who helped support our free speech cause — to be ripped down and thrown away by people who purport to defend the voiceless.

The flyers were funded by the Leadership Institute, somebody paid to help us, and the fact that they were ripped off the wall and thrown away infuriates me.

Making matters worse is no one will be held accountable. I emailed campus leaders Wednesday night explaining what happened, but I feel this will remain under the radar. That’s because, unfortunately, any group associated with the DEI office seems untouchable.

As a conservative student on campus, I’ve seen our flyers ripped down before, it’s all too common.

In fact, in February, we were even threatened on YikYak, an anonymous online messaging system, for an event we held on concealed carry.

If we did the same thing to leftist groups, you can bet we would be hauled into administrators’ offices and given stern warnings. All we ask is for equal treatment.

The WVU Assistant Director for Student Involvement, Morgan Prunty, responded to our concerns by saying via email: “This is not a reflection of the community we hope to be creating here on campus. We will also check the room reservations and communicate to the group to ensure they are respectful of others in regards to space usage.”

Actions speak louder than words.

MORE: There are nearly 100 policies restricting free speech at West Virginia’s colleges and universities: report

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About the Author
Sofia DeRiggi -- West Virginia University