At Penn State University, all voices are equal, but some are more equal than others.
That’s the message the school sent to conservative students after it posted—and then deleted—a tweet apparently intended to express support for campus minorities, including those with conservative beliefs.
“Dear conservative students: Your viewpoints are important,” the tweet stated along with affirmations for several other campus demographics. The post concluded, “Dear ALL students: We are here to support and learn from one another.”
Penn State deleted this tweet which affirmed that conservative students are welcome on campus after *checks notes* liberal students expressed outrage pic.twitter.com/KuCvJtoKfr— Kara Zupkus (@kara_kirsten) July 11, 2020
But it appears many don’t share that sentiment. Social media exploded in anger over the statement, prompting the school to remove the egregious tweet.
penn state really addressed conservative students views being important while attempting to say “black lives matter” i’m confused— jonna ?? (@mckenziejonna) June 12, 2020
Conservative Lives Matter is certainly a take!— Max Berger (@maxberger) June 12, 2020
Conservatives having their feelings hurt because other students think they're sexist, racist assholes is NOT THE SAME as protecting the physical safety & humanity of others!— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) June 12, 2020
The university’s campus newspaper, The Daily Collegian, covered the controversy.
“Conservatives in the United States do not live in a system that was built from the blood and trauma of their ancestors — a system that continues to put down people who look like [their ancestors] every day,” student Cassandra Nuñez told the paper.
Another student, Imani Murray, said that by adding conservative students to a tweet about inclusivity, the university neglected her experience as a black woman.
“[Conservative students] are some of the students that call us the N-word and show us firsthand what white supremacy really is,” she said.
In a statement to Campus Reform, Penn State Director of Strategic Communications William Hessert, Jr. said the tweet was deleted because, while it was meant “to express the inclusive, democratic and participatory values of the liberal arts,” the “message was not being received well and it is important for us that our messages be received as intended.”
“While we do not believe in deleting our posts, given the sensitivities of the matter we felt that it was better to remove it,” Hessert added.
Jordan Clark, president of the Penn State College Republicans, told Townhall that he was both surprised and disappointed by the university's handling of the situation but does not believe that the college was trying to send a negative message toward conservatives by deleting their tweet. He does, however, believe that backtracking was the wrong move.
"Had they left the tweet up and ignored the outrageous responses from left-leaning students and community members, I believe that there would have been less conflict," Clark said in an email. "Diversity of thought is essential, especially at a large public institution such as Penn State University. In the opinion of the Penn State College Republicans, fostering an inclusive environment for ALL students should not cause conflict of any kind."
Kara Zupkus, assistant editor of The New Guard for Young America’s Foundation, concurred.
“Penn State should never bend a knee to the rage mob," she told Townhall. "The fact that leftists were so upset at the idea that conservatives should be welcome on campus shows just how necessary the initial tweet was. It’s time for America’s universities to stop the bullying of conservative students and ensure they also feel welcome on campus.”
Indeed, Penn State’s decision to back down on its attempt to recognize its conservative students is evidence of the very disenfranchisement and alienation the tweet originally sought to address. Unfortunately for conservatives, intellectual diversity is not among the brands of diversity championed on American campuses.