It was a normal Wednesday when sophomore Evan Schrage went into his literature class at Michigan State University (MSU) – until the lecture and questioning turned vicious.
His professor, William Penn, veered off track in the creative writing class with a rant about “dead white Republicans” who had “raped this country.”
Evan videoed the diatribe and posted it online at the Leadership Institute’s Campus Reform news site, where the video went viral. (Watch it here.) Campus Reform, which has had more than three million unique visitors this year, is the web’s number-one source for news about college campuses.
“I really honestly couldn't believe what was happening at first,” Evan said, “[He] was using his position as a professor to indoctrinate students into thinking [in] a way that was pleasing to him.”
“It was a little unnerving to hear that from somebody who’s trying to teach me how to think,” Evan continued. “I’m paying… for a class on literature and I shouldn’t have to hear political rants and hatred of certain individuals, whatever it is, right or left.”
At one point in the video, Professor Penn asked a student, “You look like you’re frowning. Are you frowning?”
“He tried to antagonize me,” said Caroline Freeman, the student Professor Penn questioned. "He was talking about how Christians are dumb and don't know what they're talking about…It had nothing to do with class."
Two days after the video was posted on Campus Reform, the university removed Professor Penn from the classroom.
"Evan should be commended for standing up and exposing what is really going on in America’s college classrooms," said Leadership Institute Vice President of Campus Programs Bryan Bernys. "As more and more student whistleblowers like Evan come forward to expose liberal indoctrination and bias in the classroom, we will move closer to true intellectual diversity in the classroom."
When Evan learned of Professor Penn’s dismissal, he decided to go public.
“I had to involve myself more than just being behind the camera,” Evan said. “The Leadership Institute offered to train me, which was especially welcome considering I had never been interviewed on TV before, much less national television.”
The calls for interviews immediately started “flowing in,” he said. The highlight was an interview on Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor. (Watch it here.)
Evan found out about the Leadership Institute (LI) and Campus Reform through a College Republican meeting at MSU.
“The Leadership Institute has been very influential in promoting conservatism to college students…[It] is a great avenue for young people to get involved with politics and make their mark on the world,” Evan said.
Three weeks ago, he met with Josiah Ryan, editor-in-chief of Campus Reform, for an LI Student Publications Workshop at MSU. The intensive, four-hour training teaches students how to start their own campus publication, from defining a mission to recruiting staff to raising money. (Learn more or request a Student Publications Workshop at your school.)
When asked what advice he could share to other young conservatives, Evan said, “Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right…Though the slings and arrows may seem overwhelming, what matters is that you stay true to yourself.”
Please congratulate Evan Schrage for his bravery in exposing his professor, and please applaud him for receiving LI’s Conservative Leader-in-Training Award.
To take advantage of the training Evan received before his national interviews, sign up here for LI’s On-Camera Television Workshop. If you are interested in learning more about LI’s other communications trainings, click here.
To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.