Two years ago, Micah Sample, a libertarian student at Indiana Wesleyan University, penned a rant against the campus’s guidance to students to avoid offensive Halloween costumes and published it on Facebook.
The post was a tad on the trollish side: Sample referred to IWU’s Halloween costume awareness checklist as “cancerous,” and accused the social justice left of fetishizing victimhood.
“I’m going to culturally appropriate as much as I please, and I couldn’t possibly care less about who gets offended,” he wrote.
The statement was provocative, but it wasn’t crude or threatening. Some of Sample’s Facebook friends objected to the tone of it, and said so. That should have been the end of the entire ordeal.
It wasn’t. Instead, IWU launched an investigation. Then administration felt compelled to issue a statement denouncing the post. Then the university suspended Sample from his student leadership positions. IWU deemed Sample guilty of harassment and disruptive behavior: He arrived at a meeting with administrators only to learn that they had already reached this verdict without providing the student any meaningful opportunity to defend himself. Ultimately, the Honors College ejected him.
“Before going through the Student Conduct process, I believed that Indiana Wesleyan University was a place for free thought, dialogue, speech, and expression,” wrote Sample in an email to Reason. “Afterward, it became apparent that this was nothing more than a facade.”