WATCH: Campus Reform correspondent bullied for political views speaks out
- Lela Gallery, a Campus Reform correspondent from Mount Holyoke College, is facing harassment after posting an image about political unity on her Instagram story.
- Students publicly and privately insulted her political views.
- Students also insinuated physical violence if she stepped foot on campus.
Campus Reform correspondent Lela Gallery, who attends Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, is facing harassment, threats, and bullying as a result of her political leanings.
Following the first presidential debate on September 29, Gallery shared an image on her Instagram story, which emphasized the importance of civil discourse regardless of political views.
"If you are my friend and you support Trump, you are my friend. If you are my friend and you support Biden, you are my friend. If you feel the need to degrade those who feel differently than you, maybe we are not friends," Gallery wrote.
Gallery later explained, “I didn’t think it was that controversial since it was telling people that it’s not cool to demonize people for their political beliefs...Boy was I wrong.” Gallery woke up the next morning with a handful of negative responses.
Several of Gallery’s classmates privately messaged her. She responded with the words of French philosopher Voltaire: “I may not agree with a thing you’re saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
One of the students replied, “Don’t expect me to be docile to Trump supporters.”
Soon enough, an account called “BIPOC at Mount Holyoke” — which has nearly 2,500 followers — posted about Gallery.
“Wtf is this chick doing at mhc? She should be going to liberty U or something #GetTheFuckOutOfHereWithThatShit,” said one Instagram user.
Other users likewise reacted strongly, even insinuating the use of physical violence against Gallery.
"She's so lucky she doesn't live on campus right now," one person commented.
Another Instagram user asked who the post was about, and another commenter tagged Gallery.
Soon, “the bullying got so bad that the page had to delete some comments,” said Gallery. She began to receive private messages about her hairstyle and her political beliefs: “People were saying that they were ashamed of being on the same campus as me, that I don’t belong at Mount Holyoke but Liberty University, and calling my views ‘disgusting.'"
The “BIPOC at Mount Holyoke” page posted a reminder to its followers, admonishing them to refrain from tagging people in the comments.
However, an October 13 post on “BIPOC at Mount Holyoke” identified Gallery as being connected to Campus Reform.
Gallery has filed these comments and more with the Mount Holyoke College Bias Incidents and Honor Code Violations. The college’s honor code states, “I will honor myself, my fellow students, and Mount Holyoke College by acting responsibly, honestly, and respectfully in both my words and deeds.” Gallery also says that the school’s deans plan to take action.
Gallery said that professors, deans, alumni, and classmates have reached out to her to express support, “even if they don’t know me or may not agree with me.”
She neither plans to transfer nor allow herself to be intimidated.
“I’m more sad that people will act this viciously just because we don’t agree, which shows just how divided we as a country are, and I’m even more concerned about these people when they get out into the real world," Gallery said.
Watch Campus Correspondent Michelle Weston's full interview with Gallery here:
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft