What we know, what we don’t know: Robert Spencer’s visit to campus

Editor’s Note: This post is no longer being updated. For the latest coverage, please see this article.

By Benjamin Pontz, News Editor

Last updated at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 22.

Earlier this week, we reported that the Gettysburg College Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) requested to bring Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch and a FOX News contributor, to campus for a speech on radical Islam.

The Gettysburgian has learned that college administrators have now approved the event after a meeting of the Student Life Committee. However, several major items are unknown at this time. We will be keeping track of what we know and what we do not know here throughout the weekend:

What We Know

  • Members of YAF’s executive board met with the Student Life Committee on Thursday evening to discuss Spencer’s potential visit.
  • Late Thursday evening, Dean Julie Ramsey, Vice President of College Life and Dean of Students, sent an email to YAF approving the event.
  • According to Jamie Yates, Director of Communications & Media Relations for Gettysburg College, the $2,000, which Student Senate approved on April 10, is still available to YAF if they need it. However, YAF told the college that the national YAF organization would waive the fee as they had done at some other institutions.
  • An article from the national YAF organization, however, stated that the college pulled the funding. That article also called college administrators “dictatorial” and “fascist.”
  • A movement is now afoot among some students to draft a letter to the college urging them not to bring Spencer to campus. They are soliciting signatures via social media.
  • Today, during the Club Expo at Get Acquainted Day, two signs were removed from the YAF display. DPS is investigating at this time. Nikoleta Mountanos ’19 admitted in an email to The Gettysburgian that she took the signs and that no one else was directly involved.
  • “I took it because I dislike Pepe being shown as an alt-right symbol, and believe that memes should have no political affiliation,” Mountanos said. “Especially because the creator of the meme does not approve of the usage that people such as members of YAF use it for [sic]. As an artist, I believe in respecting the artists intent.”

What We Don’t Know

  • It is unknown whether Spencer will be coming to campus this semester. While college administrators had previously planned to make a decision by the end of this semester in order to plan for a possible event in the fall, that decision was ultimately made this week. May 5 is the final weekday prior to finals this semester, and the Gettysburg YAF chapter is working with the college and the national YAF organization to schedule a time.

Editor-in-chief Jamie Welch contributed to this report.

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Author: Benjamin Pontz

Benjamin Pontz '20 serves as managing news editor of The Gettysburgian, a position he has held since the middle of his first year. In four semesters, he has written more than 100 articles on topics ranging from student activism on campus to sports. Ben previously served as the event coverage and social media coordinator and led the paper's inaugural efforts using Facebook Live and live tweeting events on campus. Aside from The Gettysburgian, he is a peer research mentor in Musselman Library, a research assistant in the political science department, and drum major of the Bullets Marching Band. He is a political science and public policy double major with a minor in music, and he reads up to seven newspapers daily. Follow him on Twitter @benpontz.

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