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On March 30, 2017, a reporter with Campus Reform asserted that students at American University are attempting to ban professors "holding political beliefs different from their own." This claim has been linked to a display of how educational institutions have drifted far-left and are inherently on the offense against any ideas that challenge the worldviews of the university's students.
This claim first appeared on Campus Reform after an undercover reporter, Cabot Phillips, visited American University under the guise of a student organization advocating diversity armed with a clipboard and pen asking students to sign a petition to ban Trump-supporting professors. The petition would prevent the school from hiring any professor who had voted for Donald Trump.
A majority of articles surfacing around this claim were reiterating what was already said by Cabot Phillips in his Campus Reform piece. However, several websites offered their own ideas and beliefs surrounding the issue that Phillips never addressed directly. In one article, written by Jon Street from The Blaze, discusses the "insane amount of students" who approached Phillips to sign the petition when in actuality there were only around twenty students and one professor who signed the petition. A majority of these response articles to the video of Cabot at the university campus were written less than forty eight hours after the initial release of the article online by Campus Reform.
Students at American University more often than not signed the petition, and had no interest in what others around them, with different viewpoints, had to say. The attitude of the students created a negative idea about "liberal students and professors". Professors gave words of encouragement to the undercover reporter, and a student even spoke on the petition, saying "America is not really a democracy anymore so we can't play by the normal rules anymore."
At the end of the day, over 20 students had agreed to sign the petition, while only one student declined.
The situation is certainly cause for concern. The video and article do show that students and even some faculty believe that people who supported Trump during the election should not be able to teach at college campuses. That is a sign of a desire to repress ideas, thoughts, and beliefs by people who claim that they are advocates for diversity and inclusion of all people.
However, the evidence here is a heavily edited video and the word of the advocate here, who has an obvious bias. It is difficult to tell what students thought they were signing, and it is somewhat odd that in an afternoon of filming he only talked to ten students.