An employee of the American Civil Liberties Union has issued a public condemnation of Transylvania University in Kentucky over the school's acceptance of former Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann, calling the university's decision "a slap in the face."
Sandmann, 18, is a well-known conservative and supporter of President Donald Trump. He spoke at the Republican National Convention last month.
What are the details?
ACLU Kentucky communications staffer Samuel Crankshaw took to Facebook on Saturday to slam Transylvania University — his alma mater — for allowing Sandmann in. His post was first reported by George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, who testified before Congress against the impeachments of President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump.
"Does anyone think it's a bit of a stain on Transylvania University for accepting Nick Sandman (sic)?" Crankshaw began. "I'm sure it's a 'both sides' defense, but it's pretty counter to their mission and another instance of there not actually being equal sides to an issue."
Professor Turley noted in his own analysis that "the 'both sides' defense used to be the position of the ACLU in fighting for all sides to be given equal opportunities and protections."
The ACLU employee continued, "But this kid clearly is a provocateur in training with no intention of learning. He exists only to troll, intimidate and play victim."
Crankshaw went on to call Sandmann "dangerous" before adding, "Having experienced the incredibly high standards Transy requires for admission and then holds its students to, this seems like a slap in the face. I hope some time in a real classroom changes him, but his twitter and public persona suggest otherwise."
An assistant professor and diversity scholar at Transylvania, Avery Tompkins, responded to Cranshaw's post, stating, "While I certainly don't support or agree with [Sandmann's] views, and find his public behavior and rhetoric atrocious and uninformed, we can't not admit academically qualified students due to their political and personal views."
Tompkins promised to keep an eye on Sandmann "just like (she) would for any student" causing problems. She later issued an apology for her "mistake in singling out a student and any misunderstandings that arose from that."
ACLU Kentucky's deputy director told The Daily Mail of her employee's online declaration, "These were personal views expressed on personal time on a personal Facebook account. The views in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the ACLU of Kentucky."
At some point, Crankshaw also added a disclaimer to his Facebook post, stating, "NOTE: These are my personal views that I am expressing on my personal Facebook page on my personal time. They do not necessarily reflect the views of my current or past employers. I have a First Amendment right to express my views just as Nick Sandmann has a First Amendment right to express his. I will continue to express my views on my personal time."
What's the background?
Nicholas Sandmann was smeared by several mainstream media outlets last year when he was seen on video in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., smiling while face-to-face with a Native American man, Nathan Phillips. Phillips was beating a drum and some outlets suggested the teen was mocking the older man, but further footage showed that Phillips actually confronted the teen.
CNN and The Washington Post both settled defamation lawsuits with Sandmann earlier this year.
This story has been updated.