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Students go berserk after conservative club uses term ‘anchor babies’

YAF Gettysburg: ‘People are scared, because we’re bursting their liberal bubble surrounding this campus’

A recently approved Young Americans for Freedom student club at Gettysburg College made quite a debut on campus after its recruitment fliers used the term “anchor babies” and asked of abortion “do you enjoy hugging babies vs killing them,” among other statements.

Shortly after posting the literature, left-leaning peers at the small liberal arts school – a tight-knit community next to the historic Civil War battlefield – went berserk.

They tore down YAF’s flyers and vandalized them with swastikas and curse words, according to pictures and student interviews.

YAFFlierOn social media, students declared the posters “racist” for using “anchor babies,” and the reference to abortion was called “triggering” and “offensive” to women who’ve had one, according to comments on Gettysburg College social media channels.

Soon after the initial round of posters went up, a parody poster was created and put up around campus that labeled the conservative students “fascists.” A conservative chalk message stating in part “protect our veterans” that Young Americans for Freedom had drawn was also washed away.

Several students declared on social media that the censorship, vandalism and mocking was deserved, since it targeted “racist … triggering … hate speech.”

“It felt like our presence wasn’t welcome on campus,” the fledgling group’s student president, Will Stechschulte, told a local Fox News affiliate. “It’s a blatant infringement on our freedom of speech by erasing our messages and literally washing away our ideas, and silencing us.” Parody

YAF Gettysburg, on its Facebook page, noted: “People are scared, because we’re bursting their liberal bubble surrounding this campus.”

The controversy started when YAF last week recruited for its first meeting of the semester by posting flyers around campus stating: “Calling all Conservatives! Do you enjoy hugging babies vs killing them? Obamacare not for you? Do you realize socialism doesn’t work? Can you manage your email account better than Hillary Clinton? Anchor babies…and you’re not afraid to say it #notpc Is fixing the country more important than your golf game? BEST PART if you disagree…come for the debates!”

An anonymous Gettysburg student took to the social justice blog SURGE to recount her own abortion story, writing “no anti-choice person, no man in Congress, no poster on a residential building, and no protester on the street, can tell me the choice I made was wrong.”

Another student penned a massive diatribe in the Gettysburgian, the school’s newspaper, to attack YAF’s message that stated in part: “By now almost everyone at Gettysburg has either seen or heard about the Young Americans for Freedom posters that are displayed around campus….If you’re like me, reading this particular combination of words may have initially given you a small rage stroke or caused your eyes to fall out of your head as a precaution for never having to read something that ridiculous and gross again.”

Once the situation spun out of control, the Gettysburg Dean of students, Julie Ramsey, wrote an email to the campus community stating in part, “I’m writing today to remind our community that our campus is one that welcomes debate and discussion. As a liberal arts institution, it is part of our core mission to encourage free inquiry and an open exchange of ideas. Freedom of expression is a paramount value of this institution and I firmly believe that open debate – presented through rational, sound arguments, and absent of personal attacks – is an important part of learning and growing.”

Despite the outrage, the conservative group was recently approved by the Gettysburg Student Senate.

Young America’s Foundation, the parent organization behind Young Americans for Freedom, told The College Fix in a statement: “We’re delighted that our YAF chapter at Gettysburg College has burst the ideological bubble encircling their liberal campus. We look forward to Gettysburg YAF continuing to open the eyes of their peers to different viewpoints, no matter how much resistance they encounter along the way. The image of liberal students literally scrubbing the chapter’s conservative message off of the campus sidewalk speaks for itself and serves as a wonderful metaphor for what is happening on campuses across the country.”

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About the Author
Nick Pappas -- University of Massachusetts Amherst