Hood GOP President Says Display Was Intended To Promote Discussion

Some have called for it to be taken down.


Frederick, Md (KM). It was intended to generate discussion. That how the head of the Hood College Republicans describes a controversial display some members put in a case inside the Whitaker Campus Center. Some students and faculty have called for it to be taken down.


Speaking Saturday on WFMD’s “Frederick Forum,” GOP club President Chris Gardner said a lot of Americans are thinking these thoughts, and sometimes saying them out loud. “The conversation isn’t whether to debate the issues. That’s a separate conversation,” he said. “We should put it up because it’s important to a lot of people.”


He also said 50% of Americans are conservative.


The display, which is located in a case outside of the Student Life Office on the second floor, features a quote from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro describing transgender people as “suffering from a significant mental illness.”   There’s also a quote which says abortion is the “number-one killer of Black people in the United States.” It also says equates the practice  with genocide.


During last Saturday’s “Frederick’s Forum,” hostess Pattee Brown called the display a “vulgar display of disgusting opinions.”


Gardner said the club members  decided to put  up a display because so many other displays were promoting a liberal point of view. “They noticed that this one board displayed was promoting more liberal organizations, or more left leaning organizations, such pro-choice, Black Lives Matter, and a culmination of other things. And we had never seen a conservative display,” he said.


Gardner said he left it up to the members who wanted to put a conservative display. “I didn’t really see what they were going to put up on it. I didn’t have any kind of overlook. I just said ‘this is your thing. You guys do it,'”


Hostess Pattee Brown took umbrage at one display which equated abortion with murder, saying “giving murder a nice name like ‘choice’ doesn’t make it okay.” “I don’t called you names because I don’t believe that you’re being anti-choice is whatever. But you call people who believe in choice murderers,” she said. “You keep saying ‘you called.’ I never called anyone names,” Gardner responded.


He also said the views expressed in the display are not necessarily those of the Hood Republicans. “We didn’t say those. We didn’t even necessarily think those. We put them because a lot of people do,” says Gardner.


Democratic Alderman Michael O’Connor told Gardner he believes the Hood GOP has  the right to put up the display. But he told Gardner he should have been more careful about what was placed in the display. “I would not as part of a display that I had control over take quotes from people that I disagree with in my heart, no matter how provocative I thought they might be, how much they might speak to core progressive values, or my desire to do whatever I want, I wouldn’t use those,” he said.


O’Connor also told Gardner that some people might see this display and believe that all members of the GOP club agree with what’s being said. “If  this is what you  put on a board that you control, you cannot be surprised that people will look at you and say ‘your must believe the things you are espousing,'” he said.


Gardner said on the program that he probably should have been more careful about how the club describes its conservative beliefs.


The displays are always put up on a rotating basis, and the Republican display is expected to be taken down on Tuesday.


By Kevin McManus