free speech

Non Profit Rejects Student Volunteer After She Wrote an Article on Free Speech


A Florida environmental group canceled a community service event after its student sponsor penned a conservative op-ed in defense of freedom of speech.

The group, CREW Land and Water Trust, sent an email to a student at the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) informing of a “notice of cancellation” for a scheduled community service event.

The email was written by the group’s Education Coordinator Julie Motkowicz to Karoline Tyrrel, a student senator at FGCU.

“Karoline – your recent article regarding your experiences in student government does not uphold these values and instead provokes divisiveness,” Motkowicz writes after insisting on the group’s commitment to “promote diversity and inclusion.”


The article referenced by the organization recounts Tyrrel’s decision to vote against impeaching a Senator accused of asking a “racist” question and experiencing how “freedom of speech only works for one side.”

“A bill was proposed to allocate funds to the Black Student Alliance club for their melanin week, an important annual event-filled week for the club. During the discussion, a respected senator stood up and asked a question. He’s known for asking tasking questions, which I greatly appreciate, as we are supposed to question bills, appointments, and more. The senator expressed his concerns of the bill description. He found terms such as “black excellence” to imply black superiority, and suggested a possible rephrasing of this one line, saying he believes that all races should be treated and held to the same level of excellence,” she summarized.

“Discussion and fellow senators feeling that they needed to leave the room followed. Others expressed their disagreement, and honestly misunderstanding of what was said. The senator who made the remarks intelligently tried to clear up this confusion in the chamber; however, he was not given the opportunity. The following week had talks of impeachment and removing the him from his role because of his “racist” and “disgusting” comments,” Tyrrel added.

As a result, the student senator was one of two people who voted against impeaching the individual who asked the question, noting “many senators who I know ethically sided with the senator expressed their feelings to me, but when it came time to vote, all but one other person and myself voted to save their image.”

Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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