University claims a student scalp for Black Lives Matter
I reported previously that Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) expelled or otherwise forced out a student for a Tik-Tok video that said about Black Lives Matter essentially what New York's new Mayor, Eric Adams, said about it earlier this year. "I thought Black lives mattered. Where are all those who stated Black lives matter? Then go do an analysis of who was killed or shot last night. I was up all night speaking to my commanders in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The victims were Black. Many of the shooters were Black.” BLM leader Hawk Newsome's reply was call Adams a racial slur and a "white man in blackface," the typical response of a race hustler who has no facts to support his argument.
HSU now faces a bleak future not only because of sharply declining enrollments, but also other unrelated issues for which its faculty issued a "no confidence" vote for President Eric Bruntmyer. The Sandefer family, which is to HSU what the Cornell family is to Cornell University, proclaimed that it literally wouldn't want to be caught dead on HSU's campus. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has meanwhile expressed multiple concerns about HSU's governance. None of this, except possibly the declining enrollments, is related to the BLM controversy but the latter is ample reason for high school seniors to shun HSU in the absence of corrective actions including repudiation of BLM and a public apology to the student involved.
Did HSU Violate FERPA?
I am phrasing this as a genuine question because I am not qualified to give legal advice on anything, let alone what constitutes a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Page 45 of a FERPA training presentation from HSU's own web site says (emphasis is mine), "Institutions may disclose education records without written consent of students to the following: The public regarding the final results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding so long as the student has been determined to be the alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense." Condemnation of BLM is not any crime, so this is not applicable.
Campus Reform reports, however, "The university made a public statement confirming that the student is no longer enrolled at the school" and added, "Citing privacy concerns, Bruntmyer stated that he could not disclose the disciplinary actions that were taken against [the student] but can confirm that she is 'no longer enrolled at Hardin Simmons University.'" Bruntmyer's video stipulates that he knows HSU must comply with Federal law (e.g. FERPA). He then said almost in the same breath that he can confirm that the student is no longer enrolled in HSU which comes across to me (my perception, you are free to agree or disagree) as a very explicit disclosure of what happened.
Did HSU Violate its Own Code of Conduct?
There are even questions as to whether disciplinary action against this student violated HSU's own Code of Conduct. The only loophole seems to consist of "some speech is nonetheless inconsistent with the Golden Rule found in Matthew 7:12, and students are encouraged to live by this higher standard rooted in our Christian faith and heritage." First, whether the speech is inconsistent with the Golden Rule is a matter of subjective opinion and second, the rule says "encouraged" and not "required."
"Off-Campus Freedom of Students" adds, "College and university students are both citizens and members of the academic community. As citizens of the United States, students will enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and right of petition that other citizens enjoy; and, as members of the academic community, they are subject to the obligations that accrue to them by virtue of this membership. Faculty members and administrative officials should ensure that institutional powers are not employed which inhibit such intellectual and personal development of students as is often promoted by their exercise of the rights of citizenship both on and off campus." This section adds that unlawful behavior is not protected, but this is not an issue here.
If HSU can expel or otherwise force out a student for an accurate condemnation of Black Lives Matter, and publicly shame the student involved, it can do the same to any student who says something with which HSU administrators disagree. Intelligent people avoid dogs that are known for biting without provocation.
If high school seniors in Texas want a college with a Baptist religious environment, this map of Texas State University shows multiple Baptist churches very close to and even on the campus. There is a Baptist student center on campus. The Texas State Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) is right on campus. Texas State's tuition is less than $12,000 a year versus more than $30,000 for HSU. You also don't have to worry about being "canceled" by "woke" University administrators at Texas State because, according to the ACLU, "Restrictions on speech by public colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution." Add to this financial talk show host Dave Ramsey's opinion of expensive private colleges in general—and Ramsey is himself apparently a Baptist Christian—and you have very strong arguments for choosing community colleges and/or Texas State over HSU and indeed other private universities.
Were HSU's Actions Christian?
People throughout history have claimed to speak for God, Jesus, Allah, and so on to justify some very bad behavior such as the Inquisition, witch trials, the Thirty Years War and, more recently, terrorism in the Middle East and Central Asia. Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church says God is on Vladimir Putin's side. Rabbi Eric Yoffie of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations found somewhere in Judaism a "religious obligation" to vote for enemies of the Second Amendment. The behavior of the reverends Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright, and minister Louis Farrakhan, speak for themselves, as does that of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Prospective HSU applicants might therefore want to listen to Alpha & Omega Ministries' take on Hardin-Simmons and also Black Lives Matter, which is very different from Dr. Bruntmyer's. This video calls HSU an "allegedly Christian university," and the backlash on HSU's Facebook page is highly instructive as well. The fact that I cannot find even one comment that supports the university's actions does not mean there aren't any among the eight hundred or so there, but the reaction was overwhelmingly negative.
HSU Backed the Wrong Horse Big Time
Not only was what the student, and Mayor Adams, said about BLM accurate, BLM also meets the Anti-Defamation League's and International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of an anti-Semitic organization; one that denies the right of Israel to exist. BLM has, at its highest levels (e.g. Patrisse Cullors) promoted Rasmea Odeh, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist who murdered two Jews with a bomb. BLM refers to convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, as "Mama Assata." BLM has also condoned looting and rioting. We do not need to associate ourselves with something like BLM to denounce segregation, discrimination, civil rights violations, and similar conduct that has been neither legally nor socially acceptable in our country for more than fifty years.
"Cancel culture" is simply the latest incarnation of McCarthyism, under which people's lives and careers could be ruined with a mere accusation of affiliation with Communism. Today's "cancelers" call you a racist instead and demand that you be fired or expelled. This homegrown cancer must be called out and eradicated from our society wherever it appears.
Civis Americanus is the pen name of a contributor who remembers the lessons of history and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way. The author is remaining anonymous due to the likely prospect of being subjected to "cancel culture" for exposing the Big Lie behind Black Lives Matter.
Image: Annettet via Wikimedia Commons.