A group of conservative students at Arizona State University was smeared in an online social media campaign, targeted with doctored images and false claims.
According to documents obtained exclusively through YAF’s Campus Bias Tip Line, a current representative in ASU’s student government, Daniel Lopez, reportedly helped create an Instagram page titled “Don’t Vote For These-USG!” intended to intimidate conservative students running for USG positions, and sway the results of the election.
Lopez reached out to several of the conservative students running, asking them for “full-size images of the team.” Those images later appeared on the Instagram account, photoshopped and accompanied with smears.
“Meet coplover!” one Instagram post read. “… Loves the police, hates Black Lives Matter, and is a big fan of harassing Black senators!”
“Meet the College Republican!” another post read, referring to Clay Robinson, a YAF activist. “One of the higher ranking college Republicans on campus, Clay loves to vocalize his support for the things he believes in! Unless it’s homophobia, then he has to hide it behind thinly veiled insults!”
Other posts suggest candidates in the “Better, Bolder, Brighter,” group (nicknamed “Bigoted, Fascist, Whiter” by the Instagram account) were “guilty by association” for daring to run on the same ticket as conservative students.
Robinson, along with six other candidates, filed an official complaint with the school hoping to garner decisive action against the creators and promoters of the Instagram page. The school informed Robinson on April 1 that the respondents “did not violate the Code of Conduct.”
“While it’s unfortunate that some of our peers feel so threatened by our campaign and what we stand for that they are willing to go to great lengths to smear our reputations, we will not be intimidated and we will not be silenced,” Robinson told YAF. “I will continue to stand for conservative principles and what’s right, because now is the time to be bold in our cause, especially in our universities where diversity of thought is virtually nonexistent.”
If liberal students were the target of a smear campaign on campus, the school would likely send out a campus-wide email condemning the harassers. In this case, these conservative students can’t even get a simple acknowledgment from their administrators that what went down was unequivocally wrong.
It’s asinine that conservative students continue to be treated like second-class citizens on campus by their peers and administrators. Until diversity of thought is respected by all, Arizona State doesn’t seem to be a friendly place for conservative students.