STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (KDKA) — A tweet from one of Penn State University’s colleges is attracting national attention.
The message was intended to welcome all students. But when the college said conservative student voices were welcomed, too, that brought a sharp reaction from some.
The tweet, posted by Penn State’s College of Liberal Arts, in June begins, “Dear Students, Each of You Belongs Here,” and then goes on to list Black, LatinX, Muslim, Jewish, female, LGBTQ, and international students.
But the welcome of conservative students, saying “Your Viewpoints are Important,” upset some.
After tweets were posted objecting to listing conservatives, the college deleted the tweet, generating more controversy for allegedly “unwelcoming” conservative students at Penn State.
“All students should be welcomed regardless of anything that makes them different,” Jordan Clark, a third-year Penn State student from Belle Vernon, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Clark is the president of the Penn State College Republicans.
“We weren’t happy, obviously, about the decision that Penn State made to retract it. But for the most part, our club members feel welcomed on campus,” said Clark.
But some see larger issues at stake like an effort to stifle conservative voices on campus.
“It’s turned into an echo chamber where folks just want to hear their own point of view without consideration of others,” says Allegheny County Councilman Sam DeMarco, who is also chairman of the Allegheny County Republican Party. “And it’s very disappointing what’s happening there and on other college campuses across the country.”
The chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, Lawrence Tabas, agrees and says colleges should make every student feel appreciated and part of the American dream.
“We can’t do that if only some people are allowed to speak and others are silenced on the side,” says Tabas.
Nobody from Penn State was available to speak on camera on Tuesday, but a spokesman did tell KDKA that the retraction was not meant to question conservative views.
Here is Penn State’s full statement:
“It was not a response to questions around conservatives views. The original message was crafted years ago and was intended to express the inclusive values of the College of the Liberal Arts. However, it was an outdated statement – for a number of reasons. While it was posted due to a number of hate-based messages at the time in the Penn State community, it caused anger and confusion. As a university, Penn State seeks to be a marketplace of ideas and values different perspectives and viewpoints, including those on the left and the right.”