A dorm room shared by the leadership of the College Republicans at St. Olaf College was raided earlier this month after an anonymous report falsely accused the conservative students of illegally storing guns and ammunition on campus.
According to a report from The College Fix, the students told campus security officers conducting the raid that they had no guns or ammunition and felt they “were victims of a malicious prank.”
“We essentially got swatted, it was just a prank or an attack, something made to intimidate us, something made to make it difficult for us to study for finals and to make us uncomfortable here on campus,” said Chris, one of the conservative students who lives in the pod-style dorm. All of the College Republicans interview by The College Fix asked to be identified only by their first names to protect themselves from harassment.
“The raid on our pod was disruptive and caused needless anxiety, especially given that finals are ongoing,” said Nick.
The search reportedly lasted more than an hour and anyone who entered or exited the dormitory had their belongings searched by campus security officers, who wouldn’t tell the students anything “other than that they were searching for firearms.”
“It was disturbing to have several officers knock on our doors to inform us that our rooms were going to be searched because another student had reported all of us for having guns in our rooms,” said Ben, another student who lives in the dorm. “We were locked out of our own rooms while they searched through everything. Our rooms and possessions had been roughly handled and were strewn across the floor.”
Dakota, another student who lives in the dorm but is not a member of the College Republicans, said he thinks it is “unfair that false claims like this can be made without any justification and not be punished or held accountable in any way.”
Chris said he spoke with campus administrators about his concerns with “this type of issue happening again,” but was told that campus security will “come by and search again” if they receive another report.
St. Olaf Dean of Students Rosalyn Eaton sent out a campus-wide email to express her appreciation for “the individuals who alerted the college to these concerns, the residents who were cooperative during the search, and the college staff members who acted quickly.”
“This weekend, a report was received that there were potentially guns and ammunition in a residence hall on campus,” said Eaton. “Public Safety and Residence Life staff quickly searched the space. No weapons or ammunition were found.”
According to The Fix, St. Olaf students have a history of targeting their conservative peers, some of whom claimed they have been “violently threatened” on campus.
“I always try to be a good person, to represent my views well and to give an ear to and appreciate people who share their different viewpoints with me,” said Peter, who lives in the dorm. “After this incident, I’m tempted to retreat into secrecy completely for the rest of my stay in college, to never speak up and add my conservative voice to the mostly liberal St. Olaf College. The raid has dampened my spirits.”
The St. Olaf student body reportedly voted 82 percent to 10 percent for Hillary Clinton over President Donald Trump in 2016.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Dean Rosalyn J Eaton” by St. Olaf College and “St. Olaf College” is by Daniel Edwins CC2.5.