(Pictured above: Emily Richards; Katie Kornegay; Will Turton; Lisa Car)
At 7pm on January 29th, four clubs met- the Clemson College Republicans; Young Americans for Freedom; Tiger Town Observer; and Young Americans for Liberty. Their goals? Promoting free speech, a letter writing campaign, and the social media effort Clemson United.
About 30 people showed for the meeting. 5 leaders of the organizations directed the meeting, offering ideas and answering questions.
Miller Thompson- Chairman of Clemson College Republicans and Contributor for Campus Reform
- Began the meeting by stating that this was the 1st meeting of all Clemson conservative organizations.
- Mentioned a “trend on campus” that involved attacking free speech rights, most likely referring to the requests for a Yik-Yak ban and the prosecution of those who use defamatory speech.
- Illustrated the goal of their campaign: promote as positive a message as possible. Thompson considers that anything other than a positive campaign would “add fuel to the fire”. He suggested that the “other side” was involved in somewhat of a “smear campaign”.
- Asked those at the meeting who didn’t want a positive campaign to leave. No one left.
- The focus of their campaign will be free speech on campus. The leaders mentioned this several times.
Thompson then left the podium- he explained that any more input from him would be a conflict of interest due to his position at Campus Reform.
Will Turton- Chairman of Clemson Young Americans for Freedom
- Introduced a weekly letter-writing campaign to The Tiger Newspaper. The letters will include reactions to the Coalition of Concerned Students (CoCS) demands, as well as thoughts on free speech.
- If you’d like to send your letter, contact one of the club leaders.
- Suggested a joint tabling event on Library Bridge for not only letter writing, but to garner a list of signatures in support of C. Bradley Thompson and his open letter as well.
- Introduced their social media campaign: Clemson United
- Clemson United is a “platform for expressing opinion” and will be used to “generate voice” and dialogue. Turton mentioned that it will be used strictly for positive discussion.
- Thompson: “They want a dialogue. We want to give them that”.
- Lisa Car, Chairman of the Young Americans for Liberty, mentioned that Clemson United “opens up chains of communication on campus”.
- Wanted to distance Clemson United from any of their political clubs: “We’re not a political group- just free speech”.
- Leaders are expecting kickback from both sides.
- Audience member mentioned what he thought were “misleading statistics” on The Tiger front page from Thursday, January 29th.
- Death threats. From what Thompson stated, both sides have received death threats. He stressed that death threats are not acceptable, and that they need to “call out death threats”.
- One of the women who created the Save Tillman Hall petition mentioned receiving death threats on Twitter.
- Thompson said that a faculty member who signed the CoCS support page had received death threats prior to the signing.
- Discussion of gathering pro Yik-Yak signatures to ensure that Yik-Yak is not banned.
- One audience member said that they felt as though the “other side” was “silencing peaceful integration”, mentioning the Harvey Gantt circle and the fact that Clemson was the first South Carolina college to integrate.
Miller Thompson ended the meeting by asking, “If you’re a religious person, keep this on your prayer list”.
Also present were Emily Richards, Vice-Chair of the Clemson College Republicans; and Katie Kornegay, Co-Editor in Chief of the Tiger Town Observer.