Auburn University student Stephen Morris says he is the latest victim of “cancel culture” due to his appointment to serve in student government being derailed over concerns about his past tweets expressing conservative views.
In July, Morris was appointed to serve as chief justice of the school’s Student Government Association (SGA). When his appointment came before the student senate for consideration, Morris failed to obtain the support of a two-thirds majority needed for his confirmation.
Students voiced concerns about Morris’ past tweets and questioned his ability to represent the entire body. The tweets in question expressed his opinions on issues ranging from free speech, Black Lives Matter (BLM), poverty and feminism.
‘Hate speech’ does not exist.
Speech is not violence.
— Stephen Morris (@stephen12morris) September 17, 2020
If you say “Black Lives Matter” but ignore black-on-black murder, you’re a ridiculous hypocrite.
— Stephen Morris (@stephen12morris) January 18, 2021
BLM terrorists have taken the position that police officers should simply allow themselves to be killed by violent criminals.
This is unsurprising considering that they believe police lives don’t matter. Furthermore, these inhumane animals celebrate their deaths.
Pure evil. https://t.co/VNNe3HARsh
— Stephen Morris (@stephen12morris) September 14, 2020
Personal responsibility – not more government – is the key to escaping poverty in America.
Only about 2% of adults who followed these three simple rules are in poverty.
1.Finish high school
2.Get a full-time job
3.Wait until age 21 to get married and have children
— Stephen Morris (@stephen12morris) February 28, 2021
“Feminists” who have no issue with biological males competing in women’s sports are not feminists.
— Stephen Morris (@stephen12morris) March 23, 2021
“As a black student, I feel like Morris, specifically, does not understand the black struggle or the struggles of the LGBTQ community, or being a woman or the intersectionality of those things,” one student said. The student claimed Morris’ views are not “inclusive” and further stated that she believes he “would not administer that position with full consideration with their best interests at heart.”
Morris took exception to the accusations. He steadfastly defended himself from students’ criticism and insisted that he would use his position to “faithfully apply the law” without regard to personal opinion.
Morris told Yellowhammer News that the student senate objecting to his appointment is another example of a conservative student being targeted for holding views that are in conflict with progressive ideology.
“My mainstream conservative views and Christian beliefs did not align with those of many intolerant student senators,” he insisted. “They disregarded their own non-discrimination law and revealed their open hostility towards diversity of thought.”
Morris thanked those who were willing to reach out to him and offer their support.
“As with any partisan political issue, there are many students on both sides of the debate,” said Morris. “It has been very encouraging to receive numerous messages of support from the Auburn family. I have not heard a single word from university administration; however, I am extremely grateful for the continued, significant support of Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Sramek. Also, although I was a complete stranger to him, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong was so kind as to give me a call to encourage me soon after the vote.”
He believes if students continue to be denied opportunities due to their political beliefs, it will stifle future debate due to fear of retaliation.
“If left unchecked, this vote will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on free speech at Auburn University; SGA will become an organization of division and exclusion—the antithesis of their mission. SGA’s message to the student body is loud and clear: ‘Keep your conservative views to yourself, or be deemed unfit to serve in SGA,'” maintained Morris.
He continued, “I believe that Auburn’s SGA was once highly respected, but because of their discrimination, I’m afraid that it is now viewed by many as the home of cancel culture. Clearly, SGA is not representing conservative students, who make up a significant portion of the student body.”
Morris told Yellowhammer News that his situation “is a prime example of cancel culture.”
“Student Senators ignored my qualifications and refused to confirm me solely because of my conservative views and Christian beliefs,” Morris added. “Unfortunately, the Student Senate decided that students who have the courage to share views contrary to woke ideology are unfit to serve as leaders of Auburn University.
“This is a brazen attack on freedom of speech from a state actor,” he declared. “Many on the left can no longer tolerate opposing viewpoints or biological realities. Instead of facing the most important issues of our day with robust debate, they attempt to silence anyone who disagrees with their woke ideology.”
He concluded, “Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of democracy, yet Auburn’s SGA seems determined to stifle words of dissent rather than allow a free and open exchange of ideas on our campus.”
Following the student senate’s rejection of Morris, he was appointed once more to serve the SGA’s judicial branch, this time as associate justice. On Tuesday, the student senate will consider Morris’s appointment in a confirmation vote.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL