More Speech Suppression And Intimidation On The Campus: The Juniata Affair

The “Concerned Juniatian” was a student named Colin Daly. This was the very end of a much longer screed (You can read the whole, very long letter here) that the Juniatia College student sent to his campus community anonymously. Juniata is a small Pennsylvania liberal arts college affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, a Christian denomination. It is also apparently devoid of respect for such values as free speech, individuality, and dissent.

Daly, a senior, wrote the email without including his name but accidentally “left identifying information on the system he used to distribute his post to all of Juniata’s email accounts,” according to PennLive.

Before it identified Daly as the author, the college’s President James Troha wrote in a statement that the email contained “slurs, hateful language, and intimations of violence directed at members of our community on the basis of their identity.” There is no threat of any kind in the letter, and the “slurs” are words referred to as slurs, not used as slurs. Here’s the section of the letter I assume Troha is referring to:

I’d like to see Daly sue Troha for libel; I think he’d have a strong case.

The next day, after it was determined that Daly was the author, the college released a new statement. claiming that “law enforcement agencies are continuing their own investigations of the matter,” and suggesting that the letter’s author student may have broken state and federal laws.

That’s some education students at Juniata are getting.

“This kind of intolerance and bigotry at Juniata underscores the urgency and commitment with which we must work to achieve the promise of a just and equitable Juniata so that ALL members of our community are made to feel valued and included,” Troha concluded. As is now familiar in such statements, “just and equitable” doesn’t mean what we have been taught those words mean over the centuries, and “valued and included” applies only to those who conform to mandated agendas and cant.

Daly was summarily suspended, and the school really did complain to local police. The district attorney investigated by reading the letter, and said in a statement that there was no evidence of any prosecutable offenses.

The conduct of the college is indefensible, an unequivocal breach of the principles of liberal education, academic freedom and freedom of expression. The abuse of Daly is unconscionable. Once again, we see spineless administrators being led by the mob, in this case anticipating the sentiments of the totalitarian “woke” student body the school had created. One student tweeted that Daly’s letter proved  “the need for a full time bias response team, a dean of diversity and inclusion, and queer/poc [person of color] counselors.” Another student created a petition calling for Daly’s expulsion.

It quickly acquired  2,000 signatures. One student demanded that Juniata “use our private institution status to our advantage” by expelling Daly.

The letter Daly wrote is thoughtful and well argued. It doesn’t matter whether you, or anyone, agrees with all of it, or any of it. Unlike the reaction to the letter,  Daly’s arguments reflect well on the institution. The fact that he sent the letter anonymously is unfortunate, but excusable, especially when one considers the reaction to it by the school and his fellow students.

The tragic part of the story is that Daly didn’t have the courage of his convictions, and like so many older and presumably wiser victims of George Floyd Freakout  bullying, from NFL quarterback Drew Brees to CEOs, newspaper editors and too many professors to count. The student’s  principles crumbled under pressure, just as the nascent totalitarians assume their targets’ principles  will, and are far too often proven correct.

Daly said he was horrified “at the lack of humanity, care, and empathy that I now realize I expressed in my letter…The person who wrote the letter is not the person I want to be. I am dedicating myself to a greater understanding of my neighbors, society and culture. I am sorry and will do better.”

They beat him. They broke him.

Such institutions are dangerous, and should be destroyed. I’ve found myself quoting the last line from “1984” often of late, but it has never been more appropriate than in reference to Colin Daly.

“He loved Big Brother.”


Pointer and Facts: College Fix.

Let me take this opportunity to salute College Fix and also Campus Reform for the indispensable job both sites do documenting the sickness on America’s college campuses.




14 thoughts on “More Speech Suppression And Intimidation On The Campus: The Juniata Affair

  1. It seems to me that these students being expelled for expressing these thoughts would have a major breach of contract case against these so called higher institutes for learning–the contract being that, in exchange for paying what is probably an exhorbitant amount of money for tuition, the college agrees to provide him with an education in accordance with its stated (as opposed to) actual principles. I’d sue for refund of all tuition and fees, plus several millions in punitive damages. I’d represent anyone who suffers this kind of indignity in Virginia. Somebody has got to finally take a stand.

  2. a dean of diversity and inclusion

    Well, that’s a mouthful. I would suggest simply borrowing the Russian word for it: zampolit.

  3. This incident reminds me of the movie “Jerry McGuire”. In a moment of inspiration a person decides to tell obvious, but unpopular truths, and pays a heavy price. I doubt today’s liberal brown shirts are able to make that sort of connection but I believe it’s there. It’s unfortunate the young man didn’t have the backbone to stick to his principles but I also understand it’s very hard for someone so young with so much to lose to do so. It’s tough to fight from a position of extreme weakness. However, history shows us that we should never ever back down when we are right. Appeasement never keeps a bully appeased forever. He always comes back for more.

  4. All too common on the majority of university campuses with their speech codes along with persecution of any student or professor who dares to challenge them. I hope FIRE will take up this case but they will have an uphill fight. I wonder if most students realize that they are surrendering their rights to free expression when they are admitted to a university.

    • If the Church of the Brethren is one of the liberal denominations, then the only thing they believe Jesus actually said was, “Love thy neighbor”…assuming they even believe Jesus actually existed.

      • My Dad’s church in the town he grew up in in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia (where we’d visit most summers) was simply (and to my ears, cryptically) called the “E.U.B.” Which I eventually came to understand stood for “Evangelical United Brethren.” I think they later merged with Methodists. Was the E.U.B. part of the same outfit as runs this college? I was raised Catholic, so protestant denominations were, and for the most part remain, terra incognita to me. One of my cousins on my Dad’s side of the family is a totally whacked out Christian, but she may have gotten that from living in small town Georgia.

  5. This kid’s argument was absolutely not well made. He says the students’ suggestions are unrealistic, never mentions what those suggestions are or why they’re unrealistic, then refers to a bunch of hypothetical suggestions that the students never actually made (“all non-white students pass their classes… black lives matter themed dinners…”).
    This kid is a dumb idiot. Furthermore, he’s only been suspended, and that was in part because of heavy pressure from students, faculty, and alums. The campus acted on behalf of the campus, but will probably not have grounds to expel him despite the campus community’s wishes.
    Most of the flak he’s received has been people using the internet to point out that he’s a dumb racist idiot, just like he used the internet (in a hilarious attempt at anonymity) to demean his classmates’ experiences. If he can’t handle that, he shouldn’t have publicly outed himself as a dumb racist idiot.

    • Your critique is untrue from top to bottom. He explicitly explains why the proposals are unrealistic, and well: his main point is that it is impossible to banish some level of racism society-wide. He also specifies suggestions and complaints, quoting some directly. Did you actually read his letter, or just my excerpts? Your representation of his letter is so misleading I have to wonder if it’s deliberate. The “hypotheticals” he mentions and you reference were made by students, and have been made in other campuses.

      Your own bias and lack of comprehension is flagged by the line “he’s only been suspended.” There was no justifiable reason for him to be suspended, and being suspended is serious. Being suspended for a well-expressed and thoughtful opinion is legally actionable. There is no “only.”

      “That was in part because of heavy pressure from students, faculty, and alums.”

      Oh! Is THAT all! The incompetent and craven administrators allowed students to dictate the abuse of another student for having non-conforming view! “The campus acted on behalf of the campus, but will probably not have grounds to expel him despite the campus community’s wishes”? You say? They don’t have grounds to do anything to him whatsoever. You seem to really think a student can and should be able to be “voted off the island” because he’s unpopular. Wrong. Incredibly wrong.Embarrassingly wrong.
      The rest of your poor commentary exposes you as what you accused him of being. There is literally nothing racist in the letter, not a word, not an idea. Nor is he “demeaning” his classmates’ experiences” by saying they are wrong.Your comment exhibited exactly the illogic he was addressing respectfully. They, and apparently you, are the ones who can’t handle opposing views, dissent, or a well-argued position.

      This is the worst comment we’ve had here in a long time. If you can’t do better, don’t come back. Idiots calling other people idiots is not favored here

  6. I would bet the administrators are more concerned with his exposing the college as a student loan whore whose administrators and faculty have been able to live very comfortably at the cost of these student’s being indentured for years after having been given degrees that are unmarketable.

  7. The thoughts from “Concerned Juniatian” would have – at least back in my college days in the late 80s – sparked some interesting and maybe spirited discussion in a philosophy, psychology, or ethics classroom. I actually read the entire piece, and the writer covers a lot of territory. There were a couple of things I took exception to, but that’s where the “interesting and maybe spirited discussion” part would normally come in.

    Now the only discussion we have is Concerned Juniatian writing a piece, and anyone who disagrees immediately calling it racist. Our definition of that word has been broadened by progressives and “the Left” to the point of almost being meaningless. I would hope that if I was black or any other minority, I would be appalled at how examples of real, tangible, actual racism are being watered down to mean “anyone with a dissenting opinion from mine.”

    I’m sure – well, I’m hoping and praying – that college campuses are still populated with people who want to think critically, rationally, and calmly about societal issues. I say that because, clearly, there is a population that wants to do nothing of the sort. Instead, they want to destroy any ability to critically think and replace it with a forced mindset…one that is truly racist at its core.

    It’s tragic…

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