The Iowa State College Republicans have been defederated from the organisation following a tweet that advocated using arms in self-defence.
Following the premature declaration by the mainstream media that Vice President Joe Biden was set to be the next president, the Iowa State College Republicans’s Twitter account sent out a tweet, encouraging people to “arm up” and to “expect these people to attempt to destroy your life, [because] the elites want revenge on us.”
The tweet was swiftly picked up by leftist accounts, and was forced to be deleted following a backlash. Ryan Hurley, the chair of the ISCRs, told the Des Moines Register that their thought in writing the tweet “was to support everyone in their right to bear arms,” adding that “people have sickly twisted it. Violence is not our intent.”
The statement was supported by the University of Iowa College Republicans, who it was noted are further away ideologically from the America First agenda that the ISCRs supported.
“We are really very saddened that this act of cancel culture took place,” Hurley said in an exclusive quote to National File. “We are one of the most active chapters in the Midwest, and look forward to continuing to push America First ideals.”
Other College Republicans across the country supported the ISCRs against the Iowa Federation, with the California College Republicans even declaring that they would only deal with the ISCRs “until such time this poor decision is retracted.”
— CA College GOP (#StopTheSteal) (@cacollegegop) November 11, 2020
Iowa State University had also put out a statement at the time of original tweet. “Iowa State University is aware of a social media post by one of its student organizations, encouraging others to ‘arm up,'” the statement read. “Any suggestion of armed activity by an Iowa State student organization is prohibited by university policy. Any conduct that violates university policy will be addressed in an appropriate manner.”
However, following an inquiry from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, noting that the discussion of armed activity is protected by the First Amendment, the university backed down and issued a second statement.
“The protections afforded by the First Amendment and similar provisions in the Iowa Constitution are core values of the university and are foundational to the university’s mission to create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place,” the new statement read.
Iowa State responded to our concerns by affirming that it only seeks to punish possession and use of prohibited weapons on campus — not expression — and that the College Republicans will not face disciplinary action for their tweet. pic.twitter.com/Dwi2l1Iov9
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) November 11, 2020
UPDATE: Students and staff of Iowa State University have signed a mass open letter condemning the ISCRs, and attacked the university for not punishing them for their tweet, which the letter claimed “incites violence and creates a campus climate that feels threatening to and isolates students, faculty, and staff of marginalized and historically oppressed populations”:
Privileging the free speech of those causing harm over the safety of the historically marginalized members of our community furthers the damage and sends the message that the Iowa State University community does not value their presence, despite numerous condemnations in recent months of this exact kind of behavior. It is clear that the administration’s statements during a summer that served as a referendum on racism in this country, were merely symbolic and they now serve as further evidence of its history of denouncing some harmful behaviors, only to abdicate themselves of responsibility when given the opportunity to show their commitment through action.
The demands of the letter include the removal of the ISCRs until the last member of the society has graduated, and an update to the student code of conduct that addresses “how the institution responds to speech by students and student organizations that promote hate, directly or indirectly threaten the physical safety and free movement of members of the campus community, potentially incite violence, or violates the Principles of Community.”
Speaking exclusively to National File, Hurley revealed that some of the College Republicans have faced discrimination both from students and staff on campus. “We’ve been facing quite a few attacks here on campus,” Hurley said. “We have been repeatedly harassed both in classes and out on campus. We are waiting for Administration to respond and are ready to ensure free speech is protected here at Iowa State.”
Following further investigation, it was discovered that in 2017, the Iowa State Young Democratic Socialists of America made direct death threats towards President Trump and capitalists.
“COMRADES: stay away from needle drugs! The only dope worth shooting is in the oval office [right now],” the Iowa State YDSAs tweeted in September that year. “The left has done a good job radicalizing juggalos, weebs, furries, but I will not rest until ‘hXc’ [which stands for hardcore] stands for hang+Xterminate capitalists,” the account also tweeted in October.
However, at the time, Iowa State University declared that their statements “fall under free speech,” despite them coming very close to directly inciting violence.