About a week ago PJ, Campus Reform, and others carried the story of Dion Okeke. A student at Texas A&M, Okeke had received a threatening letter from the Student Code of Conduct Office. The letter indicated that Okeke was potentially in some serious trouble for placing Trump signs on the campus ahead of the election, which is allowed at TAMU. Okeke could face discipline up to and including expungement if he failed to attend a meeting in January with the office that sent him the letter.
Campus Reform has an update: TAMU has apologized and blamed a template for the situation.
The Student Conduct Office claimed that a “standard letter template” was used when it originally contacted Okeke. It admitted that the letter “failed to state that neither the student leader nor the student organization – the victims – were under investigation.”
“There was no issue with the signs being posted, only with the inappropriate removal by others,” the statement reads.
So what really happened according to the update is that after Okeke and his group posted the signs, someone else was stealing them. That was the complaint, making Okeke and his group the victims.
Theft and vandalism happens all the time, as a matter of routine, to Republican signs on and off campuses nationwide. If TAMU was really following up to stop that, good on them. Sign vandals and thieves should be stopped. It should be viewed as tampering with elections. In the Austin city council election runoff, which is today, I’ve seen numerous signs for District 6 challenger Mackenzie Kelly spray-painted with all manner of graffiti. The defunded APD is probably not prioritizing that crime. The woke city council would prefer that everyone “invite wonder” instead.
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Okeke remains suspicious as to why he received the threatening letter in the first place, showing that the young man is not one who is easily fooled.
Citing how Texas A&M touts its “acceptance of all political ideologies,” Okeke said that the university’s “action says otherwise.”
“I also ponder the idea that what if I never took any action? What if I accepted the initial letter face value? Could Texas A&M have quietly slipped me under the rug when it was too late for me to act? This idea may be irrational or unfounded however, this is the reality and impression Texas A&M has indirectly or directly imposed on core valued students,” Okeke told Campus Reform.
He says he wants to give the university the benefit of the doubt, yet questions whether if he had not chosen to go public, would he have faced some sort of punishment. Did the university apologize because it got called out publicly, just a few weeks before the Texas Legislature opens its 2021 session?
That is the question.
For what it’s worth TAMU has consistently done well in FIRE’s university free speech rankings, nabbing third in the nation this year.