When I transferred to the University of North Texas in the fall of 2019, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I transferred from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, a small, private Christian college. UNT was the total opposite of all these things, and I was not prepared for that.

I led the UNT Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) chapter starting my first semester, which quickly made me a target to students, faculty, and staff. The professors in particular were cause for concern.

I had one English professor—a washed-up, self-important millennial grad student who was stuck teaching the class for credit hours—who failed me on a research essay because it “wasn’t empathetic enough.” I had a Roman history professor, Christopher Fuhrmann, who wrote on his class syllabus that he would not speak with students during office hours if they were not fully vaccinated against COVID. Further down in the syllabus, he wrote, “For the love of God, get vaccinated and boosted – it’s free.”

There were a few professors on my radar at UNT who I luckily didn’t have, but they are prominent in the far-left Denton political sphere. One of these, Deb Armintor, works as a gender studies professor and moonlights as a Denton City Council chairwoman. She often protested with students to get myself and my group kicked off of campus.

Another professor, Adam Briggle, is the father of a “transgender son.” Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke recently had dinner with Adam and his wife, Amber, to endorse her in her failed Denton City Council run. Adam often writes bizarre op-eds for The Denton Record Chronicle about pushing transgenderism onto kids.

Another professor, Wendy Watson, protested at one of our events about banning child transitions, later writing a message in a student group chat asking the students to write a statement about how a YCT event “challenged the very existence and humanity of many students” and urging those in the group chat to “help her keep her job.” These are just a few of the colorful individuals that UNT is hiring to teach indoctrinate young minds.

The administration was just as bad as the professors.

The Dean of Students herself, Dr. Maureen McGuinness, told me that the university wouldn’t condemn the vandalism of my YCT’s pro-life memorial because the students had the right to do so under the “heckler’s veto.” My YCT faculty advisor at the time also spoke to me about the same event, equating putting up a memorial for the unborn on the UNT campus to a group of neo-Nazis hosting a rally in a town of Holocaust survivors. He later “resigned” from being our advisor after YCT and the Texas Public Policy Foundation sued the school over tuition prices for illegal immigrants (a case that we recently won).

The Dean of Students office also organized an event called “when hate comes to campus” in response to so many complaints about my YCT chapter. The event was supposed to show students that conservatives have the right to express their viewpoints on campus and that “hate speech is free speech” (administration was even thoughtful enough to give me a t-shirt for the event and asked me to promote it), but the event was a disaster and ended with a UNT lawyer resigning after saying a racial slur as an example of free speech.

Students figured out early on that they could get away with making threats against me and harassing me with absolutely no consequences from administration, so they took advantage of this.

I helped organized an event about banning child transitions, which ended with me being evacuated by police because the students got so out of hand. These students were allowed to scream in our faces and spit on us, and campus police just watched. Students and members of the local ANTIFA cell later ended up breaching the building I was being held in to search for me.

A student once took to social media to brag about spitting in my Starbucks order after recognizing me in the drive-thru line. The majority of students also never learned the meaning of “free speech,” with 20,000 of them signing a petition to have me expelled over some “mean” tweets. I often feared for my life when I had to attend my classes, and I even had to have armed security present at my graduation.

At this point, you might be wondering if the UNT president ever stepped in or condemned the behavior from the students on the left. He absolutely did not.

In fact, President Neal Smatresk repeatedly refused to condemn the violent, riotous behavior of his students, and he actually condemned me and my YCT chapter over our First Amendment right to express our viewpoints on campus. He was given many opportunities to comment on the situation by both liberal and conservative media, yet he declined. He’s also refused to reply to The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has sent him many, many letters about his failure to protect free speech on campus.

I’ve personally reached out to Smatresk via email to request a meeting, but he didn’t even have the decency to reply to me. Because of his total lack of inaction, students felt emboldened to harass and attack me. Smatresk has skated through these controversies by appeasing the leftist students and staff instead of doing the right thing: defending free speech and condemning violence.

I take issue with Gov. Greg Abbott for not speaking up on the state of the UNT campus, especially considering that it’s a public campus and taxpayer dollars fund it. Aside from a few good professors and departments, the rest of the university is a total cesspool teeming with mentally ill students and faculty who are only concerned with indoctrinating young people.

Abbott appoints the Board of Regents who oversee the campus, and none of them have spoken up either. Gov. Abbott has claimed to be an advocate for free speech, yet he remains silent every time that right is squelched by leftist students on the UNT campus. Many conservatives have also called him out and attempted to contact him on these issues, but with no success.

If you have a student at UNT right now, or if you are currently a UNT student, best of luck. The place isn’t friendly to conservatives at all, but it’s worth it to stay on campus and fight. College campuses are the frontline of the culture war we are currently facing, and having a loud conservative voice on campus is essential to winning.

Pro-tip: The louder your megaphone, the more entertaining the students get.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Kelly Neidert

Kelly is chairman of the University of North Texas chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas.