Nick Sandmann is firing back at the American Civil Liberties Union staffer who publicly condemned Transylvania University for accepting his application to attend the Lexington, Kentucky, school.
Sandmann, the former Covington Catholic High School student smeared in 2019 for what many mainstream news outlets erroneously reported as “mocking” a Native American man during the March for Life, is now speaking out in defense of his conservative values.
Sandmann was the subject of much controversy and criticism, and his family filed lawsuits against media giants such as CNN and the Washington Post in response.
Both outlets settled defamation lawsuits with Sandmann earlier this year.
What are the details?
In an op-ed for Fox News, titled “I’m a pro-life conservative Republican college student who won’t let cancel culture silence me,” Sandmann — now a freshman at the Kentucky university — said he refuses to fall victim to “cancel culture.”
“Beginning the college year during the coronavirus pandemic is difficult enough for millions of students,” he wrote. “But the beginning of my freshman year at Transylvania University in Kentucky is being made even more difficult by an unwarranted attack against me by the cancel culture due to my conservative views.”
Recalling his time dominating 2019’s news headlines, Sandmann said enough is enough.
“[U]nbelievably, an official of the American Civil Liberties Union — a liberal group that claims to be dedicated to defending free speech — criticized the university last week for admitting me, saying my admission was a ‘stain’ on the school,” he explained.
The staffer, identified as Samuel Crankshaw — a Transylvania University graduate — said that Sandmann solely exists to “troll, intimidate, and play victim.” Sandmann, however, said he has never met Crankshaw — who he says knows nothing about Sandmann other than what he has read in the news.
“Yet still, he tries to cancel me and demand that I be denied admission to college,” he wrote. “Why? Because he seems outraged that my conservative values don’t align with his left-wing ideology.”
He warned, “If you are a conservative like me, watch out. The intolerant left might come for you, too.”
“Jonathan Turley, a scholar known for being a strong advocate of free speech, responded on his blog to defend the need for free speech and defend me from Crankshaw’s attack,” Sandmann noted.
I have previously written, as a long supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), about my concern over how the venerable group has changed under its current leadership, including a departure from its long robust defense of free speech. Recently, the ACLU has abandoned its famed neutrality and has not supported some on the right while supporting those on the left.
Turley later added, “[I]t is far more alarming to see an ACLU official rallying people against a young man whose chief offense appears to be that he is publicly (and apologetically) conservative and pro-life.”
Sandmann said, “Turley is right. Colleges have a reputation of being toxic places for conservative, pro-life ideas like the ones I hold. But an alumni assuming I’ll act in a certain way before even meeting me? Well, that’s a new low.”
He pointed out that he’s obviously not the only young conservative to be virtually pilloried for his beliefs and that conservative students across America regularly face this type of pushback.
“If the threats to students like me don’t come from the left-leaning administrators, the threats come from fellow students who call on campus leadership to cancel events or shut down student organizations that dare challenge their left-wing view of the world,” Sandmann added, blasting the notion of college and university “free speech zones” as “ridiculous.”
“Our entire country is a free speech zone, enshrined by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution,” the young man wrote. “And no one has the right to cancel the Constitution or its First Amendment.”
The newly minted college freshman went on to laud President Donald Trump and Kentucky Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for remaining strong in the face of leftist pressure.
“Sen. McConnell and President Trump are the exact leaders we need at a time when liberal mobs take glee in destroying our lives and erasing our voices,” Sandmann said.
“Now more than ever, we need more speech, not less,” he reasoned. “We need to hear new ideas and to learn from others. That is exactly what I and so many students returning to school want to do. I invite Democrats to join us.”
He concluded, “[T]o those who are inclined to write my future for me, I say let me define myself. I will not be canceled.”