NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Conservative students at St. Olaf College reported receiving violent threats during the course of the 2016 election.
Student newspaper the Manitou Messenger reports that members of St. Olaf’s College Republicans (SOCR) chapter were targets of harassment on and off-line. All of this in spite of the chapter never endorsing now President Donald Trump, and refusing all calls to volunteer for the campaign.
“I think one of the hardest things was, the second day, I went into Buntrock and someone yelled from the bottom, ‘if you voted for Trump, you better be f***ing scared.’ Everyone clapped and applauded,” St. Olaf College Republicans Vice President Kathryn Hinderaker told the Manitou Messenger, “Obviously, it didn’t feel super safe.”
More than 82 percent of the student body voted for Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine in the election. Just over 10 percent cast ballots for Trump, while five percent voted for former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.
SOCR President Emily Schaller reported a student threatened to beat her up and called her a “f***ing moron.” She overheard multiple other statements of students threatening to beat up the next Republican or conservative they encountered.
As a result, many of the few conservative students at St. Olaf have decided to pursue their education away from the Lutheran liberal arts school, according to the Manitou Messenger. Some members transferred after the fall semester. Others are still planning their departure.
“The week around the election, right after, I could not go to class. I didn’t feel safe, I actually went home for awhile,” former student Katie Ivance said, “People were saying [things] like ‘F-you’ and ‘I wish you were dead’ [on social media.]”
Ivance transferred to the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities after the fall semester. Targeting of conservative students is not reserved to St. Olaf however. UMN has had its own incidents of liberal harassment of conservative students, including vandalization of pro-Trump panels, while in 2014 the University of St. Thomas’ mascot wiped its posterior with Republican campaign literature.