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UNH Political Science Department Denies Bias in Leavitt Snub

University of New Hampshire College Democrats seem to be getting help with turnout for their events from the school’s political science department, though its chair denies any bias. 

When the UNH Political Science Department sent out a notice informing students of an upcoming Get Out the Vote rally featuring Democrats Sen. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, College Republican President Carson Hansford took exception.

“I was shocked when I saw the notice,” Hansford said.

The department regularly sends students notices about events on campus featuring political figures. The notices typically state they are not endorsements of any political side, and the department does not sponsor the events in any way. But Hansford said institutional bias seems to be at work.

Last spring, the College Republicans hosted GOP congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt as part of her “Wake up Gen Z College Tour.” Hansford sent an email about the event to the address for the department listed in the school’s directory. He never heard back. The department never sent a notice to students about the Leavitt appearance he said.

“I had not received an email in reply, so I had forgotten about it and had assumed that the department did not want to advertise anything that was political,” Hansford said. “Yesterday … the political science department sent an email advertising Sen. Hassan and Sen. Warren coming to campus on Friday for a GOTV (get out the vote) event, even sending out the Democrat’s link to sign up for it.”

Hansford said there is a general liberal bias on campus among students, and that he and his fellow College Republicans deal with regular snarky comments when they hold public events.

“People say to us we’re the worst thing ever, things along those lines,” Hansford said.

Jeannie Sowers

Jeannie Sowers, the department chair, told NH Journal the issue of the notices from her department is not a story, and that Hansford was wrong to speak to the media about his concerns.

“I do not appreciate students reaching out to the media and trying to create a controversy where none exists,” Sowers said.

When asked about the Leavitt event, Sowers feigned ignorance.

“I do not know who that is,” Sowers said of the GOP rising star who is facing off against Rep. Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, in next week’s closely watched election with national implications.

Sowers said the department has a rule not to send out notices about people who are merely candidates and instead focuses on sitting elected officials regardless of party.

“Sitting elected officials are more likely to get notice,” Sowers said.

Sowers faulted Hansford for not reaching out to the department with his concerns and cast doubt on whether he ever sent the department a notice about his event. She also suggested Hansford may have requested some type of sponsorship from the department for the event, which would have been against policy.

Hansford, a political science undergrad, said he did not ask for any kind of endorsement or sponsorship. As for the distinction about sitting elected officials getting priority over candidates, Hansford said the department sent out notices about Democratic presidential candidates like Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary season.

UNH is ranked 16th in the nation for free speech on campus by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), but that was down from 3rd just a year earlier.  Katelyn Regan, head of the UNH Students for Life chapter, recently told NH Journal her pro-life organization has been subject to threats and intimidation on campus, mostly from pro-abortion students.

“We have had the police called on us a bunch of times,” Regan said.

Leavitt has run into stumbling blocks on New Hampshire campuses throughout her campaign. Last summer, Southern New Hampshire University imposed restrictions on the audience for an appearance by Leavitt hosted by the campus College Republicans. The administration acknowledged it singled out Leavitt for being “controversial.”

“Our policies are compliant with both state and federal laws and allow for the free flow of information and ideas while ensuring campus safety,” said SNHU spokesperson Siobhan Lopez.

Dartmouth Drops in Campus Free Speech Rankings — Again

Dartmouth College’s standing as a campus that supports diversity of opinion and expression fell again this year, down 20 places in the newest ranking of campus free speech from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).

Earlier this month, FIRE released its findings from “the largest survey on student free expression ever conducted.”

“That so many students are self-silencing and silencing each other is an indictment of campus culture,” said FIRE Senior Research Fellow Sean Stevens. “How can students develop their distinct voices and ideas in college if they’re too afraid to engage with each other?”

Or, as the report concluded, “Sayonara, debate and disagreement; hello, campus kumbaya.”

New Hampshire’s Ivy League school pulled a Gentleman’s C in last year’s ranking, coming in at number 63 in the nation. But this year, Dartmouth dropped even lower, to number 83 — below the state universities of Idaho, Indiana, and Alabama.

And while the University of New Hampshire fares far better at number 16, which was a drop from number three last year.

“The University of New Hampshire remains steadfast in its commitment to the principles of free speech and academic freedom and are pleased to know FIRE recognizes our work to protect these freedoms while encouraging openness and civility,” said Erika Mantz, executive director for UNH Media Relations.

FIRE reports college students and faculty at schools across the country face extreme challenges to the free expression of ideas.

“Alarming proportions of students self-censor, report worry or discomfort about expressing their ideas in a variety of contexts, find controversial ideas hard to discuss, show intolerance for controversial speakers, find their administrations unclear or worse regarding support for free speech, and even report that disruption of events or violence are, to some degree, acceptable tactics for shutting down the speech of others,” the report states.

Dartmouth’s administration did not respond to a request for comment, but students who anonymously reported to FIRE say the school campus is ruled by “mob mentality” and students live in ideological echo chambers. According to FIRE, for every one conservative student, there are roughly 4.3 liberal students.

“Mob mentality situations occur all the time in a small campus like Dartmouth. From minimal things to huge issues, there is a main way of thinking that if you do not conform to, you are alienated,” one student said.

Another student said they feel uncomfortable confronting the racism they experience at the school.

“I am a person of color who often has to hear White people make comments that come off as tone deaf or performative and I do not feel comfortable saying something about it,” the student said.

One student told FIRE they are unable to express their support for the nation of Israel due to fears over anti-semitism.

“Sometimes feel stigma against saying that I support Israel. People paint it as being against human rights and I’ve personally seen antisemitism attached to the subject occur on college campuses,” the student said.

According to FIRE’s report, only 27 percent of Dartmouth students say shouting down a speaker to prevent them from speaking on campus is never acceptable. At UNH, that number is 44 percent. Both represent a minority of students.

FIRE’s Vice President of Research, Adam Goldstein, said schools need to set the example early in the school year that free speech is the norm on campus.

“FIRE’s top-ranked school, the University of Chicago, starts by sending letters to incoming students explaining the value of free expression,” Goldstein said. “Reinforcing those messages through orientation programs and official policy statements makes sure the message lands. Reforming any anti-speech policies, like restrictive protest or internet use policies, will show students that the administration is walking the walk. And FIRE is ready to help with all of that.”

FIRE got involved at Dartmouth last year after allied threats of protestors shut down a planned speech by conservative speaker Andy Ngo at Dartmouth College.

Dartmouth canceled the Jan. 20 event hosted by the campus chapters of the College Republicans, Turning Point USA, and Network of Enlightened Women, forcing it online because of unspecified “concerning information” from the Hanover police.

However, documents obtained by both NH Journal and FIRE indicate police never thought that the planned protest presented a credible threat.

Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis told FIRE in a letter that his department “did not make a recommendation to Dartmouth College regarding the January 20th event.”

Dartmouth responded to the controversy by charging the Dartmouth College Republicans Club a $3,600 security bill.

Goldstein said students should know they have options to protect their speech, and that FIRE will help.

“Students who feel their rights aren’t being respected can call FIRE for help–that’s the easy answer here and it’s never the wrong answer because even if we can’t help in a specific situation, we might have some ideas about who can. But generally speaking, the first step is going to be to go to the administrator, board, or student group that’s not respecting those rights and ask them to reconsider,” he said. “Most speech restraints are created by well-intentioned people focused on something other than freedom of speech and bringing speech to their attention can go a long way.”

SNHU Restricts Audience for Leavitt Appearance, Insists on Right to Reject ‘Controversial’ Speakers

Republican congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt had a limited audience when she spoke at Southern New Hampshire University after school administrators ordered the event to be limited to students only.

Ky Urban, president of the SNHU College Republican Club, said he first learned about the policy to limit or exclude what the school deems “controversial” speakers when he asked about hosting an event featuring the First Congressional District GOP candidate.

“We were just hoping to line up our speakers for the next academic year. We would like to bring candidates, politicians, and people who lecture on topics that are of interest to conservatives,” Urban said. “We were first made aware of this ‘controversial speakers’ policy when we were trying to host Karoline Leavitt who is running for U.S. Congress in CD-1. The administration eventually let us host an event with her. But they limited it to SNHU students only, which reduced the number of people who could attend,” Urban said.

Urban was told that the university must substantively review and approve all proposed speakers to ensure they “are not so controversial that they would draw unwanted demonstrators” to campus. The university explained it “invite[s] discussion as long as it is friendly.”

Rather than allowing the general public to attend, as is commonly the practice for speakers of public interest, the campus GOP was ordered to limit the invitation to students only. As a result, the administration has the power to restrict who is allowed to speak on campus and who is allowed to hear them.

Leavitt blamed the liberal culture in higher education that seeks to minimize or silence conservative voices.

“All across America, college campuses are silencing conservatives for fear of backlash from their overwhelming liberal student body. To prevent outcry from their students, college administrations have devised various ways to ensure their monolithic brainwashing programs operate free of dissension. The only way we will disrupt their indoctrination of our youth is by challenging the status quo, which I will continue to do when given the opportunity,” Leavitt said.

The policy of reviewing invited speakers caught the attention of free-speech organization, FIRE — the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression — which has criticized the school and demanded it change its practices.

“When university officials determine which views are worth sharing, as SNHU administrators claim the authority to do here, students and faculty will invite fewer speakers to campus. In turn, fewer controversial and non-controversial speakers will come, and fewer viewpoints will be shared, all to the detriment of the campus community,” said FIRE’s Sabrina Conza.

SNHU’s Siobhan Lopez, assistant director of media relations, said the school is committed to the free exchange of ideas, so long as there is order on campus.

“Southern New Hampshire University seeks to promote and facilitate the exchange of innovative and diverse ideas, and we welcome speakers with a broad range of viewpoints and backgrounds to foster a diverse and rich educational experience for members of the university community. Our policies are compliant with both state and federal laws and allow for the free flow of information and ideas while ensuring campus safety,” Lopez said.

Urban said the way the policy is enforced targets conservatives. He was told by one administrator that former President Donald Trump would not be allowed to speak on campus for being too controversial.

“We are not aware of any specific criteria regarding which speakers are considered acceptable under SNHU’s controversial speakers policy. However, vague language typically allows administrators to enact policies that are not above board and makes excuses after the fact,” Urban said.

Events with invited speakers are vital to college clubs, which use them to recruit new members. Urban said having the audience limited when a speaker is deemed too controversial is a setback for clubs like his.

“This policy has severely harmed our club because we are not able to bring speakers that will draw a large crowd. Normally, exciting speaking events are a highlight for conservative college clubs and help to increase membership,” Urban said.

The events also bring diverse ideas to the campus, which tends to ideologically skew left, according to Urban.

“They also help to bring diverse views to campus, since liberal arts colleges tend to skew to the left with regard to the speakers they bring and what is taught in the classroom. We ask that SNHU uphold their commitment to freedom of expression on campus,” Urban said.

CONZA: SNHU Is Failing Its Free Speech Pledge

Imagine if the government could silence you before you have a chance to speak because officials think someone might be offended or resort to disruption or violence. It might sound insane that others’ potential feelings or actions mean you have to shut up, but that’s the reality for students at a university here in the Granite State.

Southern New Hampshire University mandates that student groups run all invited speakers by university administrators to weed out those who may cause controversy. The administration gives itself sole discretion to turn down speakers who may “draw unwanted demonstrations” to campus. 

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, where I work, is demanding that SNHU rescind this requirement because it prevents members of the campus community from freely expressing themselves and from engaging with speakers that the university bans.

To be clear, SNHU is a private school not required to promise students free expression. But when colleges do make those promises by way of university policy—as SNHU does—they must live up to them. When students invite speakers to campus, their association with the speaker constitutes expression. When universities create viewpoint and content-based barriers for students to invite speakers to campus, they restrict students’ rights to free expression, breaking promises made to students who choose to enroll.

SNHU cannot speak out of both sides of its mouth, guaranteeing respect for students’ expressive rights while obstructing those same rights when speech is contentious. However, that’s exactly what administrators did. Their response to FIRE claims the university “seeks to promote and facilitate the exchange of innovative and diverse ideas,” but states the university is “confident” that its policies don’t violate the law or infringe the free flow of ideas. As we told SNHU in response, “expression is not free when authorities must approve of the speakers and viewpoints expressed.”

When institutions shut down free speech, they encourage detractors to disrupt campus in the future, because they know it has worked in the past. This concept is known as the “heckler’s veto” — a form of mob censorship in which officials shut down expression due to actual disruption or the threat of disruption. 

Of course, SNHU must balance free speech with safety. Shouldn’t a university punish those who react to speech with violence and misconduct rather than those who seek to speak peacefully? That is precisely the problem with SNHU’s required review of invited speakers. It cannot unilaterally block broad swaths of political speech under the guise that allowing the speech would sacrifice campus safety. Expression and the free flow of ideas must be encouraged on campus—not restricted.

FIRE rated four New Hampshire universities based on the extent to which their policies restrict students’ right to free expression: Keene State College, Plymouth State College, University of New Hampshire, and Dartmouth College. The rated public schools all earn FIRE’s highest “green light” for free speech. However, Dartmouth—which has faced FIRE’s ire recently for shutting down a student group’s event—earned a “yellow light” rating, meaning it has at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Good policies are the first step to ensuring students may speak freely on campus—a goal all universities should strive to achieve.

SNHU must bring its policies in line with its strong commitment to students’ expressive rights. It should do that not only when legally required to do so, but also because it’s morally obligated to promote a culture of free expression on campus. That’s the beauty of free speech: Speakers whose views may not be commonplace can share their opinions with others and learn from each other without fear of being silenced.

FIRE stands ready to help SNHU, and all other speech-restrictive institutions, bring its policies in line with its commitment to free expression. Officials must stop acting as if free speech hinders a community. Instead, they must acknowledge that it strengthens a community by allowing its members to freely exchange ideas, both controversial and popular, and by allowing those from different backgrounds to gather to learn from one another’s viewpoints. 

To make this vision a reality, SNHU must end its prior review of invited speakers and the censorship that comes with it.

SNHU Under Fire Over Anti-Free Speech Policy Banning ‘Controversial’ Speakers

The free speech non-profit FIRE says Southern New Hampshire University is trying to throttle free speech on campus with its new policy of reviewing and approving all invited speakers to the school. 

When the new president of the Southern New Hampshire University College Republicans Kyle Urban asked the school how to invite conservative speakers to campus, he was told all speakers had to be vetted by the college first to ensure the invitees “are not so controversial that they would draw unwanted demonstrators to campus.” University administrators explained to Urban that the school “invite[s] discussion as long as it is friendly.”

Philadelphia-based FIRE is now involved, calling on the school to live up to its own free speech policies.

“SNHU thus betrays its own free expression promises by demanding prior review of speakers. To be clear, ‘expression is not free when authorities must approve of the speakers and viewpoints expressed,” FIRE’s Sabrina Conza wrote this week to SNHU’s Associate General Counsel Even Lowery.

According to Conza, Urban asked administrators about inviting speakers, expecting information about the mechanics of bringing people to the school to exchange ideas in public. Instead, Urban was told the school staff must “substantively” review and approve all proposed speakers before they are invited.

Conza says SNHU is now violating the promise it makes to students to protect free speech on campus.

“SNHU unequivocally promises students an environment which sustains the ‘ideals of freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of the individual,’” Conza writes. “Having made those strong promises, the university may not lay them aside when the expression in question could lead to controversy.”

Conza wrote the approval process would only serve to prevent people from being invited by students or faculty to speak on campus, for fear of offending any group and causing protest.

“SNHU said it is ‘confident’ its ‘policies for speakers and political events on campus are compliant with both state and federal laws and allow for the free flow of information and ideas,’” Conza writes. “FIRE is far less confident.”

FIRE got involved last year after allied threats of protestors shut down a planned speech by conservative speaker Andy Ngo at Dartmouth College.

Dartmouth canceled the Jan. 20 event hosted by the campus chapters of the College Republicans, Turning Point USA, and Network of Enlightened Women, forcing it online based on unspecified “concerning information” from the Hanover police.

However, documents obtained by both NH Journal and FIRE indicate police never thought the planned protest presented a credible threat.

Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis told FIRE in a letter that his department “did not make a recommendation to Dartmouth College regarding the January 20th event.”

Dartmouth responded to the controversy by charging the Dartmouth College Republicans Club a $3,600 security bill.

Conza said that when college administrators decide who is allowed to speak, the free exchange of ideas is harmed.  

“When university officials determine which views are worth sharing, as SNHU administrators claim the authority to do here, students and faculty will invite fewer speakers to campus. In turn, fewer controversial and non-controversial speakers will come, and fewer viewpoints will be shared, all to the detriment of the campus community. We once again urge SNHU to reverse course,” Conza wrote.

Sununu: ‘I Like Joe Rogan,’ Defends Free Speech

Gov. Chris Sununu likes free speech, the First Amendment, and podcaster Joe Rogan.

Donald Trump? Not so much.

In a radio interview Tuesday morning, the Republican governor told WGIR’s left-leaning talk host Chris Ryan he opposed attempts to silence media voices like Rogan’s, whether or not you agree with their viewpoints.

“Whether it’s social media, the mainstream media, or Joe Rogan,  sometimes you get a difference of opinion — you could call it misinformation — it comes from everywhere now. To say we’re going to become the ‘misinformation police’ because we don’t agree with what they say… that’s just a complete violation of the First Amendment and goes against everything America is about,” Sununu said.

Rogan, whose podcasts attract around 11 million listeners each, is the target of progressives who want his program de-platformed by the Spotify media platform. They are angry that he has interviewed COVID-19 vaccine skeptics and other controversial figures on his show, allowing them to share their opinions. Rogan has also expressed skepticism about public health policy on vaccines, and masks.

Among the progressives pushing to shut him down are aging musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. A single episode of Rogan’s podcast draws more listeners on Spotify than a month’s worth of listeners to Young and Mitchell’s music — combined.

When Ryan argued that “mainstream media programming like his show should be viewed as more trustworthy than Rogan’s (“we have gatekeepers!”) and the confusion between what Ryan considers legitimate media and podcasts is a problem, Sununu pushed back.

“I disagree. I listen to Joe Rogan. I don’t consider him mainstream news. I like Joe Rogan I listen, I agree with something he says and disagree with others. But I would never compare him with Fox News. We have to make our own decisions about the weight we put on an individual’s words.”

Sununu also noted the irony of being asked about the Rogan controversy on CNN two days earlier.

“I thought the question was funny coming from the mainstream media — ‘what should we do about people who put out misinformation?’ I could have gone down a list of 100 things on each of the ‘mainstream’ news channels that are not true, or misinformation, or partisan leaning. But that [censoring speech] is a rabbit hole we’d never come out of,” Sununu said.

However, Sununu was less forgiving of the questionable claims coming from former President Donald Trump. Asked about Trump’s suggestion that participants in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot should be pardoned, Sununu dismissed the idea as a fringe notion.

“I understand the former president has his opinion, but I don’t think it’s shared by pretty much anyone else. I don’t think anybody thinks those who assaulted the U.S. Capitol, assaulted police officers, should be pardoned,” Sununu said. “Especially in the GOP, we believe in accountability, the rule of law, and supporting law enforcement. It would send a terrible message not to support law enforcement.

“When you look at the issues that were going on at the Capitol on that day, if we’re going to take a pass on that, we’d be saying it’s OK to take a pass on those who assaulted police and burned down cities in 2020,” Sununu added.

“There’s still a rule of law that has to prevail.”

Recent polls show a majority of Republicans want the congressional investigation into the events of January 6 to end, and only 17 percent of Republicans believe the rioters are criminals. Another 66 percent say, “They had a point but went too far.”

Free Speech Org to Investigate Dartmouth Cancellation of Ngo Appearance

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) tells NHJournal it has launched an investigation into Dartmouth College’s decision to shut down an appearance by conservative journalist Andy Ngo in the face of threats of violence from Antifa.

“Threats of violence are never an appropriate response to speech you oppose and must not dictate who may speak, or what may be said, on a college campus. Universities should not reward those who threaten violence by canceling controversial speakers,” said FIRE Program Officer Zach Greenberg.

The ACLU of New Hampshire, however, is choosing to remain silent.

Ngo and former Antifa activist Gabe Nadales were scheduled to discuss extremism in America Thursday night on the Hanover, N.H. campus. The event was hosted by the Dartmouth College Republicans and the conservative activists at Turning Point USA. Ngo has built a national reputation covering violent, far-Left protests, events often ignored by the mainstream media.

The college security officer told a reporter for NHJournal Ngo’s appearance was canceled, and the event would be held online, but he would not say why the change was made.

“That’s a decision above my pay grade,” the security officer said.

Dartmouth College’s Associate Vice President for Communications Diana Lawrence said the event was moved online after it became clear it could not be held safely in person.

“In light of concerning information from Hanover police regarding safety issues, similar concerns expressed by the College Republican leadership, and challenges with the student organization’s ability to staff a large public event and communicate effectively (including dissemination of the visitor policy and a prohibition on bags in the building), the college has requested that the ‘Extremism in America’ panel be moved online,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said 94 people signed on to attend Ngo’s event virtually. There was no visible presence of protestors Thursday night. A pair of men turned away at the doors, who appeared to be in their 30s and 40s, respectively, said they were on the college campus to attend the event. They declined to answer any further questions. 

“The administration canceled the event and gave the student organizers the choice of holding a last-minute zoom meeting or nothing at all,” Ngo told InsideSources. “An event on violent extremism was threatened by violent extremists. It’s a cliche. Why did the College wait until two hours before the event to drop the ultimatum on organizers and speakers? Dartmouth College’s decision actually gives a blueprint for extremists to shut down future events.”

Several municipal police officers from Hanover and nearby Lebanon police departments were visible on the campus before the event. Hanover police declined to comment on the cancellation when contacted. On Friday morning, NH Journal was told senior Hanover police officers were in meetings and unavailable to comment.

Greenberg said FIRE plans to investigate the threats and the cancellation. He said the college needs to tell the truth about what, exactly, happened.

While we appreciate that Dartmouth’s administration has facilitated an online version of this event, initially intended to take place in person, we must remain vigilant against universities citing safety concerns as a pretext to censor unpopular expression, and must ensure that those seeking to impose a “heckler’s veto” cannot succeed in doing so,” Greenberg said. “Dartmouth must be transparent by identifying the concerns that led to the cancellation of the planned event, the steps it took to address those concerns, and why it decided that the event could not take place as planned.”

University administrators silencing speech was once an issue almost certain to inspire action by the American Civil Liberties Union. But in recent years, the one-time civil rights advocacy group has abandoned its free speech mission, the New York Times reports.

Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director at the ACLU of New Hampshire, did not respond to requests for comment.

In the days leading up to the event, members of Antifa organized a counterprotest, with some making threats to stop Ngo at all costs.

“When you enter our home you play by our rules, not yours,” the Northeast Antifa social media account posted. “New England is anti-fascists, and we will hold that line till death.”

 

 

Dartmouth Cancels Ngo Event in Face of Antifa Threats

HANOVER —Dartmouth College administrators canceled an on-campus appearance by conservative journalist Andy Ngo’s Thursday night after a deluge of online threats from Antifa members.

Ngo, who has built a national reputation covering violent, far-Left protests often given little attention by the mainstream media, was set to appear at an event hosted by the Dartmouth College Republicans and the conservative activists of Turning Point USA.  

New Hampshire Journal was turned away at the door of Moore Hall by Dartmouth security on Thursday evening. The college security officer said the event was changed to be an online appearance, but he would not say why the change was made.

“That’s a decision above my pay grade,” the security officer said.

“The administration canceled the event and gave the student organizers the choice of holding a last-minute zoom meeting or nothing at all,” Ngo told NHJournal Thursday night. “An event on violent extremism was threatened by violent extremists. It’s a cliche. Why did the College wait until two hours before the event to drop the ultimatum on organizers and speakers? Dartmouth College’s decision actually gives a blueprint for extremists to shut down future events.”

Police stand outside Dartmouth College’s Moore Hall after conservative journalist Andy Ngo’s appearance was canceled by campus administrators.

Several municipal police officers from Hanover and nearby Lebanon police departments were visible on the campus near Moore Hall Thursday evening. Hanover police declined to comment on the cancellation when contacted. 

Dartmouth College’s Associate Vice President for Communications Diana Lawrence said the event was moved online after it became clear it could not be held safely in person.

“In light of concerning information from Hanover police regarding safety issues, similar concerns expressed by the College Republican leadership, and challenges with the student organization’s ability to staff a large public event and communicate effectively (including dissemination of the visitor policy and a prohibition on bags in the building), the college has requested that the ‘Extremism in America’ panel be moved online,” Lawrence said.

There was no visible presence of protestors Thursday night. A pair of men turned away at the doors, who appeared to be in their 30s and 40s, respectively, said they were on the college campus to attend the event. They declined to answer any further questions. 

Ngo and former Antifa member Gabe Nadales were set to speak about extremism in America at the event. After Dartmouth’s order, Ngo tweeted:

“The admin of @dartmouth College canceled the live speaking event about #Antifa featuring myself & @OGNadales due to security concerns. (Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in.) This is extremely disappointing but we’re continuing in a virtual capacity.”

News of Ngo’s appearance got members of Antifa organized into planning a counterprotest in the days leading up to the event, with some making threats to stop Ngo at all costs.

Police officers stand outside Dartmouth College’s Moore Hall after an in-person appearance by conservative journalist Andy Ngo was canceled on January 20, 2022.

“When you enter our home you play by our rules, not yours,” the Northeast Antifa social media account posted. “New England is anti-fascists, and we will hold that line till death.”

The Green Mountain John Brown Gun Club stated online it “called up reserves” of Antifa super soldiers to be on hand for the event. A member of a Portland, Ore. Antifa group, Jonathan Dylan Chase, offered money for anyone who managed to assault Ngo during his Dartmouth appearance.

Antifa is a decentralized organization of people who claim to be anti-fascists and has been at the heart of violent street protests for years, clashing with both innocent political protestors and aggressive white supremacists along the way. Members of Antifa have engaged in violent protests in Portland, Ore. over the past few years, where Ngo gained fame covering the clashes between Portland’s Antifa and white supremacists like the Proud Boys. 

Ngo has been accused of serving as a propagandist for the Proud Boys in exchange for protection at the protests, something he has denied. Ngo was assaulted by Antifa protesters in 2019 in an incident in which he was punched repeatedly and hospitalized due to his injuries.

Dartmouth, once a bastion of free speech, has evolved like many progressive campuses to be hostile territory for speakers from the Right. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) ranks Dartmouth 63rd in the nation for its campus culture supporting free speech.

Lawrence said the college strives to make sure all viewpoints are heard on campus, so long as it can be done safely. 

“Dartmouth prizes and defends the right of free speech and the freedom of the individual to make their own disclosures, while at the same time recognizing that such freedom exists in the context of the law and in responsibility for one’s own actions. The exercise of these rights must not deny the same rights to any other individual. The institution therefore both fosters and protects the rights of individuals to express dissent,” Lawerence said. “Protest or demonstration shall not be discouraged so long as neither force nor the threat of force is used, and so long as the orderly processes of the institution are not deliberately obstructed.” 

Last year’s appearance by Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) drew a crowd from the Democratic Socialist Club at Dartmouth, and liberals on campus reportedly engaged in vandalism of the posters for the event.

The Democratic Socialist Club protest itself descended into obscene anti-police chants directed at the sole Hanover police officer observing the proceedings, though there was no reported violence at the event.

Exeter High Labels Catholic Student ‘Bully,’ Defends Punishment Over Free Speech

Exeter High School and SAU 16 struck back against a Catholic student suing over his free speech rights, saying he was disciplined for being a bully and not for expressing his religious views. However, they acknowledge in their court filing that the “bullying” in question was expressing his opinion on gender.

The student, known in the lawsuit as M.P., claims he was disciplined for expressing his opinion, informed by his Catholic faith, that there are only two genders. M.P. expressed these views off the school campus and was then suspended from the football team for one game, according to his lawsuit.

The district’s attorney, Michel Eaton, wrote in a response to the lawsuit filed late last week, there is no free speech case here. Eaton also claims M.P. was not suspended by the school, but benched for one game by his coach. The benching had nothing to do with the school’s anti-discrimination policies regarding transgender issues.

“M.P.’s coach did not decide to bench M.P. based upon M.P.’s opinion that there are only two genders, nor would he. Rather, M.P. was benched for using crude, inappropriate, and disrespectful language while communicating with Student Doe. This behavior was consistent with M.P.’s documented history of bullying and inappropriate behavior, including such behavior on the school bus and such behavior targeted at Student Doe specifically,” Eaton wrote.

Student Doe, who is not transgender or non-binary, is the student with whom M.P. had a reportedly heated conversation regarding gender and sexuality while on the school bus. The conversation later continued via text messaging, according to court records. Student Doe, in turn, reported the conversation — which took place outside the classroom and off the football field — to M.P.’s coach, Eaton wrote.

“M.P. ‘s coach took what he believed to be an appropriate and limited remedial measure to teach and ensure the respect that is expected of all student athletes,” Eaton wrote.

According to Eaton’s filing, Student Doe and M.P. have a long-standing antagonistic relationship. Eaton submitted as evidence the football team code of conduct, which M.P. signed, and copies of the text conversation between M.P. and Student Doe. However, both items were sealed by the court and not available to the public. 

Whether or not M.P. engaged in bullying, the district acknowledges in Eaton’s filing that M.P. was disciplined for expressing his views, however crudely, while off-campus. It’s similar to the free-speech case in which a Pennsylvania high school student was disciplined after she posted a profanity-laced message to Snapchat that she recorded at a convenience store.

The U. S. Supreme Court last year ruled 8 to 1 in favor of Brandi Levy, the former cheerleader at Mahanoy Area High School. The high court found the school violated Levy’s First Amendment rights when it reprimanded and suspended her from the junior varsity team because of her off-campus comments about the cheer team.

While the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sided with Levy in her case, the New Hampshire ACLU has been silent in the case of M.P. In the past, protecting an individual’s personal speech against government action would have been a classic ACLU  case. But the organization has become openly partisan, as The New York Times reported in a story headlined “Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the A.C.L.U. Faces an Identity Crisis.”

Instead of suing on behalf of an individual’s rights,  New Hampshire’s ACLU is part of a federal lawsuit opposing New Hampshire’s new anti-discrimination law. They want to overturn the law preventing teachers and government employees from teaching that “a person, because of their membership in one or more identified group(s), is inherently either: (1) racist, sexist, or oppressive, consciously or unconsciously or (2) superior or inferior to people of another identified group.”

The ACLU-NH is joined in the lawsuit by Andres Mejia,  director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice for the Exeter Region Cooperative School District, and a board member of the Black Lives Matter Seacoast organization. Some Exeter parents have questioned whether a member of a group that claims all white people, regardless of their behavior, participate in white supremacy can treat students fairly. 

Writing about the Exeter case in the Portsmouth Herald, former political consultant Alicia Preston Xanthopoulos defended the Catholic student’s right to express opinions others — including the school district — don’t like.

“No one has the right not to be offended. I do actually have the right to say something that might offend you,” Xanthopoulos wrote. “That’s precisely why there is the First Amendment. It’s not there to protect popular speech, it is there to protect you from being punished by the government for speech that is not popular.

“Which, horrifyingly, is precisely what occurred here.”

The “Ladies Lingerie” Dartmouth Prof Gets Censured–AGAIN

When former Dartmouth Professor of Government Ned LeBow cracked a joke on a San Francisco elevator, nobody could have foreseen the international firestorm it would spark. The resulting story of p.c. overreaction and academic idiocy left everyone except the 76-year-old professor looking ridiculous.

But not, apparently, quite ridiculous enough. The p.c. pinheads have censured the professor…again.

The story began at an academic conference in San Francisco when Professor Lebow, currently of King’s College London found himself on the same elevator as Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College in Massachusetts.  When Professor Sharoni courteously asked her fellow riders what floor they needed, Lebow joked “Ladies lingerie, please.”

And that’s where the “courtesy” ended.

Sharoni claims she was offended by the joke, as well as the laughter of the “white, middle-aged men” on the elevator.   In her formal complaint to the International Studies Association, the organization hosting the conference, Sharoni said: “After they walked out, the woman standing next to me turned to me and said, ‘I wonder if we should have told them that it is no longer acceptable to make these jokes!'”

The ISA responded to Lebow’s lame joke, not with an eye roll, but with a rebuke. They ordered him to apologize for his “offensive and inappropriate” remark. When he refused, they formally censured him.

Now the story has taken another turn, as recounted by Professor Lebow in the Valley News:

 “I discovered that she [Professor Sharoni] had not grown up in either the U.S. or U.K. — where saying “ladies’ lingerie” in an elevator is a well-known gag line — so I explained in the same email the meaning of my remark and how it was in no way directed against women.

I further suggested that I considered a complaint of the kind she made damaging to efforts of women to combat serious and unacceptable mistreatment.

She complained to the ISA, this time about my having contacted her, and I was censured a second time.

Comedy is in the eye of the beholder and it may be that Professor Sharoni simply didn’t like Lebow’s attempt at humor. But why complain over an attempt by the gentleman to explain the comment and clear up any confusion over its offensiveness? Complaining the first time was embarrassing enough. Why complain again?

And–a more significant question–why would an (allegedly) serious academic institution like the ISA pile on with a second censure?  Professor Lebow has a theory:

“What ISA officials want is not an apology but a capitulation….giving in to their demands would further chill free speech among younger colleagues and students who are far more vulnerable than I am to sanction by their professional organization.”

Somebody in this story is getting bullied. How many people believe it’s the gender-studies professor from Massachusetts?