Penn State Prof Suggests Conservative Student Org Partly Responsible For Capitol Riot

Asked by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter on his campus if he would act as an advisor for the group, a political professor at Penn State University (PSU) instead ripped YAF, seemingly blaming the organization for the breach at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Professor Pete Hatemi sent an email to Penn State’s YAF chapter saying, “Under no condition, would I support any group that has an implied or explicit support for Trump, racism, sexism, or indifference to democratic values, including peace, liberty, freedom, and justice for all peoples,” adding, “I question if your national organization has some responsibility for recent actions.”

After politely thanking Hatemi for his response, PSU YAF chairman John Stafford fired back:

I find your response insulting, not only towards YAF, but the entirety of the conservative movement. … YAF is a 501(c)(3) organization, therefore it cannot and has not ever endorsed candidates/political parties. … Your suggestion that YAF somehow is responsible for the violence at the Capitol last week is unsubstantiated. YAF has never advocated for violence, and to assert such a claim with no evidence or research is dishonorable. National YAF publicly condemned the violence that occurred.

Finally, the assumptions that you made are nothing but biased. You spent the majority of your email attacking my organization and wrongly assuming that we belong to an absurd narrative of violence and chaos, but you never once asked me about the organization or my motivations. I encourage you to research the history of YAF before falsely maligning it. I will continue my search for a chapter advisor to ensure that my YAF chapter has a strong presence on Penn State’s campus — promoting freedom and standing against false narratives like your own.

Stafford told YAF, “College is supposed to be a place where I am free to listen and learn. Yet my experience has been filled with roadblocks and professors limiting me to the realms of their own ideologies. I am proud to be a member of YAF — I will not speak quietly or amend my beliefs.”

“It is Penn State YAF’s constitutional right to exist on campus whether this professor likes it or not,” YAFD’s Kara Zupkus wrote. “To attack all conservative students and YAF by accusing them of supporting riots and violence with no evidence is disgraceful and unbecoming of a professor at an institution of higher education. Now is the time for healing in our nation, and this professor and many others are only further stoking the flames of division with baseless accusations and attempts to censor true conservative speech.”

Penn State’s bio of Hatemi reads:

I am Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Co Fund in Microbiology and Biochemistry at Penn State. My research currently focuses on explicating individual differences in preferences, decision-making, and social behaviors on a wide range of topics, including: political behaviors and attitudes, addiction, political violence and terrorism, public health, gender identification, religion, mate selection, and the nature of interpersonal relationships. In so doing I advocate theoretical and methodological pluralism …

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