The University of Maine sent a campuswide email disavowing a Facebook post by the school’s College Republicans chapter that defended Christopher Columbus and slammed the “Radical Left-Wing agenda” of erasing U.S. history.
Maine this year became one of a growing number of states to change the Oct. 14 “Columbus Day” holiday to “Indigenous People’s Day” out of respect for Native Americans. Earlier this month, Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro balked at the change and issued a formal proclamation to keep “Columbus Day,” calling the late explorer a “pioneer,” News Center Maine reported.
The University of Maine College Republicans thanked the mayor in a Facebook post on Oct. 4, writing that the societies conquered by Columbus “were corrupted by rampant ritual sacrifice and cannibalism.”
“Thank you, Nick Isgro, for standing up to the Radical Left-Wing agenda that is being pushed by Establishment Republicans in Augusta with the help of the Left,” the group wrote. “The most successful tactic of Communists is rewriting history and destroying our heritage. We must not forget the brutal societies that Christopher Columbus and other explorers discovered in America. These societies were corrupted by rampant ritual sacrifice and cannibalism.”
University President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and Vice President of Student Life Robert Dana responded to the message by sending out a campuswide email on Oct. 7, saying the group was spreading “15th-century Spanish war propaganda to dehumanize indigenous peoples” and that their message was neither “supported by nor reflective of” the school’s “values and principles of inclusivity and equity,” Campus Reform reported.
The conservative group later responded to the email on Facebook, saying the administration had put their members in danger and demanding a formal apology from the university.
“If ANY of our members are attacked, bullied, or intimated as a result of his actions, we will hold him personally responsible,” the group wrote.
Mr. Dana later told News Center Maine that the school supports free speech.
“The University felt that because our name was implicated in the post, of course, we had to express our value structure — what we believe in, what we’re doing here at UMaine,” he said. “We support every student’s right to free speech and to meandering through the marketplace of ideas.”
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