Zach McDonough’s classmates at the private Christian school said they were upset by his messages, many of which have since been deleted at the alleged insistence of the college.
A student at Messiah College has sparked outrage on campus for blasting out several anti-abortion tweets that invoked rape, race, and the Holocaust.
Earlier this month, 20-year-old Zach McDonough tweeted: “If you support abortion than [sic] all I ask is you be consistent with your viewpoint and support rape! Why can a woman force herself onto her baby but a man can’t force himself onto a woman? All I ask is consistency.”
Then: “A man should have the right to choose to rape, his body his choice.”
And: “My concentration camp my choice.”
And finally: “My plantation my choice.”
Students at the private Christian school in Mechanicsburg, Penn., said they were upset by the messages, which made them feel unsafe.
McDonough told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that he was ordered to take down any “offensive” tweets at the threat of suspension, and to run any possibly “offensive” tweets through the administration before posting them going forward.
“Basically, they’re silencing my free speech,” he told The Patriot-News on Monday.
Despite his allegations that the college is silencing his anti-abortion stance, McDonough’s Twitter avatar appeared on Tuesday to show him standing in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic and holding a sign with images of a bloody fetus that say: “This isn’t healthcare. It’s murder!”
Before the school reportedly stepped in, students at the 2,690-student college created a Change.org petition asking for McDonough to be formally disciplined. It had nearly 700 signatures as of press time on Tuesday.
“Messiah claims to be a safe and welcoming place to its current and perspective students, but in reality it is anything but,” the petition reads. “It is a place where LGBTQ students are all but ignored and shunned, if you wear a crop top you’re immediately labeled a slut, and students with terrifying and sickening worldviews are not only invited in, but embraced. Something must be done about this apathy that the school administration has. Change needs to happen.”
“I can’t believe we even have to petition for this,” one purported student wrote.
“We don’t know what these men are capable of,” senior Haley Faragalli told ABC 27 of McDonough’s tweet about rape, noting that she hopes the school plans to take action against him. “If they’re tweeting things about this, they could be capable of rape, they could be capable of murder.”