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The New Guard

Leftist Student Charged with Harassment After Threatening YAF Leader

By

Makoa Joseph Allen Niebel

July 3, 2024

Makoa Niebel is the chairman of Young Americans for Freedom at Franklin & Marshall College.


Not long after hosting YAF speaker Paula Scanlan for a March campus lecture titled “Men Should Not Compete in Women’s Sports”, I was made aware that I was the subject of a lot of disgusting discourse. These conversations occurred on the anonymous social media app called Fizz. This app requires an official Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) email address to access the F&M campus thread. The thread contained dozens of derogatory posts about me that got worse after the F&M YAF Chapter advertised and hosted a pro-life info table in April.  The posts listed below are just a few examples of the egregious comments that were made.  One of the posts received almost 800 upvotes which is close to half the student population at F&M College.

At the same time this was happening,  I met with a high-ranking F&M administrator to discuss the aftermath of the Paula Scanlan event. During this meeting, I notified the administrator of the countless hateful Fizz posts, which clearly go against the student code of conduct at F&M College. The administrator told me they were already made aware of this situation by another administrator.  Hearing this caught me by surprise because to my knowledge, no action had been taken to address and/or prevent these behaviors.

I am a strong proponent of freedom of speech. However, F&M College is a private school. The F&M YAF Chapter and I are held to a code of conduct that is effectively the campus law. As you can imagine, if my club and I are held to a standard then I would like my peers to be held to the same standard. Moreover, some of these posts were not just against the code of conduct but seemed to be in a gray area of illegal and free speech. Realizing that the situation on campus was only getting worse and that I was receiving borderline threats, I went to the police and turned in evidence. I then had another meeting with multiple administrators and told them that I believed that some posts on Fizz might be illegal because they were threats and provided the administration with dozens of posts that were made about me. At the time of writing this article, they still have not publicly and directly addressed this situation to my knowledge. One of the key posts of the police investigation was this threat of violence which points to the location (Hartman Green) of the pro-life info table that I was leading that day.

After a long period of investigation, fantastic police work, and judgment, the Lancaster Police Department contacted Fizz to find out who made this threat which was deemed a chargeable offense. With this information, the Lancaster Police were able to identify the defendant and charge the defendant, who no longer attends F&M College for unknown reasons, with harassment. 

I am very thankful to Young America’s Foundation for their never-ending support and the Lancaster Police for upholding the law. In an act of good faith, I decided to drop the charges on conditions including but not limited to a written apology addressed to the F&M community and me as well as 16 hours of community service. Despite the hate that I’ve received, I am grateful to attend F&M College and thankful for the people who have supported me.

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