Today news dropped that Allen Armentrout, the peaceful protester who stood in front of the Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park has been terminated from Penscola Christian College’s enrollment which has caused quite the uproar. By all accounts backed up by video evidence Allen’s protest was indeed peaceful. He didn’t say a word, didn’t make any inappropriate or violent gestures. He stood silently and saluted the statue. This behavior was in sharp contrast to the mob around him who got in his face, swore at him, flashed vulgar gestures at him and chanted “Terrorist go home.” Allen was later led away by a police escort.
Today when he was terminated from PCC all of the fingers were pointed at the school.
“How could they do this?”
“This was the stupidest thing they’ve done.”
“My blood is boiling.”
Naturally it makes sense to be upset. A school terminating someone for exercising a constitutional right seems to be unfair and downright outrageous.
But there is far more to this story than meets the eye.
First and foremost it’s vital to understand that Allen Armentrout is not the sacrificial lamb that many would have you to believe. During his time at PCC, Allen made it clear that he was very much against the school and their stances on moral issues and student conduct. He regularly used his platform on social media to bash and disparage the decisions made by the institution and made it a concentrated effort to mock and sow discord among PCC’s student body. He even referred to PCC’s faculty as “dumb” if I remember correctly. There was no question about it–Allen Armentrout was as anti-PCC as they come.
The next thing that is important to understand is that PCC is very concerned about its image. From the church services to the conduct expected from its students in all areas of private and public life PCC protects its image and standards with incredible resoluteness, taking the principle of “living beyond reproach” to the fullest letter of the law. Students are not allow to assemble with the intention of peaceably protesting a standard or rule–they’re not even allowed to sign petitions. This was actually one of Allen’s main talking points in his diatribes.
So here’s the big picture:
During his stay Allen made it very clear that he was against the school and what it stood for. He was warned against using student led social media groups like PCC-bay or the PCC Discussion Page as a platform for his disagreements and disrespect yet he continued.
After his peaceable protest in Charlottesville he gained an even larger social media platform and given his history of bashing the school that was just not a risk that PCC was willing to take. The whole country was now watching Allen which means eventually their vision would fall directly on Pensacola Christian College. And given its concern about its overall image, if there’s any individual that PCC doesn’t want you to associate with them it’s Allen Armentrout. .
Why am I writing this article? Because once again people are angry at an institution and the stances it takes when once again the full story is not known. PCC’s decision is being treated as a knee-jerk reaction when in fact the stirring of the pot was occurring long before this choice had to be made.
Was Allen’s protest wrong? Of course not. It’s his constitutional right. But Allen dug this hole all by himself–and it wasn’t in Charlottesville that this hole was dug, but on the very campus of Pensacola Christian College itself.