Johns Hopkins Student Andrew Guernsey Stands Up to Campus Bullies

by Gabriella Hoffman

The First Amendment is under siege in our country today. From articulating support for natural marriage to being politically incorrect, respectful disagreement over issues and intellectual diversity are strongly discouraged today.

One college student, Andrew Guernsey, has gone out of his way to challenge the “tolerance brigade” at Johns Hopkins University following its student government’s decision to bar Chick-fil-A from campus. As a result, this incident has garnered a lot of media attention. Andrew penned an op-ed in National Review and subsequently appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss why campus statists are wrong to suppress campus free speech. 

I recently interviewed Andrew to learn more about what happened on his campus and how he has played a role in fostering a discussion of socially conservative ideas with his peers.

GH: Chick-fil-A was planning to open on campus. Why is this not the case anymore? 

AG:  The rather remarkable thing about the JHU student government’s Chick-fil-A ban is that there were never even plans for a Chick-fil-A brick and mortar outlet on campus. The ban began after the Diverse Gender and Sexuality Alliance petitioned the SGA to preemptively ban Chick-fil-A after a few students simply commented online to ask for one.  The student government found the very suggestion of a Chick-fil-A created an “unsafe space” and subjected gays and lesbians to a “microaggression”, all simply because the CEO of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy does not believe in same-sex “marriage.” As a result, the student government banned any future Chick-fil-A from the Hopkins campus with an 18-8 vote.  All of this happened, despite the fact the University contracted with Chick-fil-A to provide food at sports games in 2012, and the sandwiches would regularly sell out at halftime. It turns out, the JHU student government does not have authority to change University contracting policy, so it remains up to the University administration whether they will implement the student government’s anti-Christian, anti-Chick-fil-A policy. 

CC: Like other institutions of higher learning, John Hopkins claims to boast a mantle of tolerance and diversity. However, that’s largely absent with respect to conservative and pro-life views. How has JHU treated your club and other right-leaning clubs on campus? 

AG: JHU has had a long and troubled history with conservatives on campus. In 2006, JHU banned from campus and tried to file harassment charges against The Carrolton Record, a conservative newspaper, for criticizing its funding of homosexual pornography in a major event on campus.

In 2013, the JHU Medical students drove out Dr. Ben Carson as the commencement speaker after he made comments against same-sex marriage. At the same time in 2013, the JHU Student government refused twice to re-recognize Voice for Life, a pro-life group I re-started as a freshman after being dormant for two years on campus, saying that our plans to conduct sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics violates the school’s anti-harassment policy, and that links on our website to abortion victim photography were “offensive.” One SGA executive official even compared our pro-life group to a white supremacist organization. While the student government judiciary overturned the ban on our pro-life group a month later, after we had threatened lawsuit, even still many JHU student senators pushed to defund Voice for Life. After we protested our defunding, the student government decided to slash annual funding to all political/activist groups on campus instead. Only this month has annual funding been restored for political/activist groups. 

Read the rest of the interview at Counter Cultured.

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