The University of New Hampshire (UNH) has issued an apology after one of its official Facebook pages was caught making partisan political posts against Donald Trump and in favor of Hillary Clinton.
In the wake of Trump’s election victory, UNH’s Women’s Studies Program used its Facebook page to encourage students to join a public protest against him.
The program promoted an “Our Power Walk Out and March” event being put on by the UNH College Democrats Nov. 14. The walk-out was explicitly framed as a protest against Trump and his impending presidency.
“WS wants to make sure you know about this march that is happening tomorrow,” the post reads. “We have students who are interested in other forms of protest/activism. If you are interested in planning or participating something, lets [sic] get you connected!”
Later, the program published a follow-up post encouraging students to stop by to receive help in making protest posters for the walk-out.
“Our office will be open until 4:30 p.m. today so please stop on by and make your own poster!” the post urged students.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the department was also making partisan political posts before the election, such as one promoting a Democratic get-out-the-vote rally featuring President Barack Obama and another that encouraged students to help out with Clinton’s campaign. Most of the posts were deleted after the school received complaints, though, and in a subsequent statement UNH officials said they were troubled by the department’s behavior.
“UNH is troubled by the partisan nature of many social media posts by the women’s studies department,” spokeswoman Erika Mantz told the Union Leader. “UNH encourages its students, faculty and staff to be engaged citizens but as a university we do not advocate for particular candidates or political parties. Those posts will be taken down.”
Even now, the post advertising the walk-out remains active, as does the one encouraging attendance at the get-out-the-vote rally.
New Hampshire state law explicitly bars the recipients of state funding from using that funding to engage in partisan political advocacy.
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