Last Friday I released an article which shed a different light on the expulsion of peaceful protester Allen Armentrout from Pensacola Christian College. The post went semi-viral, garnishing thousands of views and a great deal of discussion across various social media platforms including this website, my personal Facebook page, Reddit, and a couple of conservative news forums. You can read the original post here.
Over the weekend I’ve received a lot of questions and accusations regarding my decision to publish the other side of this controversy. At first the temptation was to ignore the slanderous remarks and attacks upon my character but after some consideration I’ve decided to rebuttal and provide some clarification as to why I did what I did and why I felt as though it was important to share another perspective. In this article I will be answering some of the general questions that I have been asked regarding my opinion as to why Mr. Armentrout was expelled.
Let’s dive in:
1. “Why didn’t the school kick him out when he was bashing and slandering the school? Why did they wait until now to kick him out? This smells fishy.”
Answer: This is a question that I do not have the complete answer to. All I know is that he did slander the school at every turn, and that he was turned in by students for his remarks, and that he was warned by Student Life to stop using public forums to bash the institution. The point of my article was to show that PCC did not have a good relationship with Allen which probably made it easier for them to expel him. Considering his views towards the school the last thing they probably wanted was for a lot of media attention focused on them with Allen being able to manipulate the narrative. It was probably safer and wiser to cut ties with him before the situation got way out of hand.
I do not have documentation or inside information as to why Allen was expelled. All I have is eyewitness accounts from students and faculty confirming his prejudice towards PCC by and an opinion that I formulated as to why the school would terminate his enrollment. I freely admit that the article I wrote is speculative in nature but informed speculation nonetheless.
2. “None of what you wrote is confirmed. It’s all hearsay. We want screenshots and links to the slanderous remarks that he made about PCC. This article is bull***”
Answer: I would have been happy to link viewers to the slanderous comments and provide screenshots of Mr. Armentrout’s remarks. The problem is that he made these comments on two Facebook pages designed for PCC Student interaction and those comments have since been deleted.
The first is entitled PCC-bay which is a outlet designed to allow students to post items for sale and receive bids from other students. Occasionally students would post topics of discussion and Allen would use these posts as platforms to berate the school in all sorts of ways. The second is entitled the PCC Student Discussion Page which is geared specifically towards students discussing various policies, events, and questions that they may have regarding student life on campus.
The reason that I could not link to or provide screenshots of Allen’s tirades and disruptions is because both of these pages are closely moderated by their administrators and any post that gets out of hand is swiftly deleted. Any post that Allen commented on generally was deleted within the first couple hours of discussion but I can assure you that the administrators would both tell you that Allen was on their “watch list” and that he was a troublemaker through and through.
3. “We don’t know if [Austin] is telling the truth about Allen. For all we know he could be a personal enemy of him and just putting the hit on him to tarnish his name.”
Answer: This accusation could not be farther from the truth. In fact, I do not know Allen personally. The only interaction I’ve had with him has been on the two forums mentioned above–PCC-bay and the PCC Student Discussion Page where he consistently and perpetually bombarded and berated the institution with nonsense and slander. He has never harmed me personally or done me any wrong. He probably does not even know my name. However if you view the original thread where I first published the article you will see other students and faculty confirming my story. I did not publish this article to throw him under the bus. I wrote this article to tell the truth and to shed further light on this befuddling circumstance. In fact there is more that I know regarding Allen’s character and conduct that I did not publish in the article because it was not wholly necessary in proving my point. If I was out to attack Allen and muddle his name however, I would have no qualms in releasing that information.
4. “Austin is a propagandist from the college.”
Answer: I am not a propagandist from the college. I am not a spokesperson for the college. I do not represent the college in any way. I do not know all of the ramifications as to why Allen was expelled.
I am also not interested in defending the college. The intent of my article was to shed further light on the situation. It was not intended to justify PCC’s actions or provide significant evidence as to why Allen’s enrollment was terminated. The article was an editorial–a speculative opinion piece meant to reveal the truth behind Allen’s history with the school and perhaps shed some insight as to why they were so quick to cut ties with him. We may never know the real reason why he was expelled but what my article did was show the truth behind Allen’s interactions with PCC and the flip side of his character.
5. “What business is this of yours? How do you benefit from this? This article shows a lack of character and professionalism. This isn’t journalism.”
Answer: First of all this does not benefit me at all. I don’t get paid for this, my name isn’t up in lights, I’m not getting any interviews or sponsorship for what I wrote. I wrote this article because I’m a lover of truth. And as a lover of truth I was getting sick and tired of people throwing stones at PCC and slandering them for failing to protect a student’s constitutional rights. I was tired of seeing Allen glorified and being treated like a martyr for a good cause when I have heard reports of not only slanderous but racist comments being made by him on PCC’s campus. My conscience could no longer stand for it, so putting my reputation on the line, and receiving no benefits or glory I published the article and braced myself for the onslaught to come.
I believe in standing for what’s right even if no one stands with me. I believe in speaking the truth for the truth sets us free. I believe in the power of perspective and the light it sheds on the murkiness of anger and doubt. The fact of the matter is that this story needed to be told. Not just because PCC was being attacked and defamed but because people were being deceived by the media’s spinning of the event. As someone with an alternate perspective to this situation I did what no one else would do–I told the truth.
There were other students who could have done what I did. Other students and faculty knew Allen and what he had done to tear PCC’s name to the ground. Anyone of them could have stood up and did what had to do. I’m no hero. But I possessed the truth and believed that it was my duty to reveal that truth. To me that’s not a lack of character. That’s standing up for what I believe in.
I’ll end by saying this one final time…I do not have definitive and concrete reasoning as to why Allen was expelled from PCC. All I have is a different perspective that needed to be shared and reasoning that went above and beyond the original narrative as to why the college would make such a quick and aggressive decision.
Believe me when I say this…despite my view that Allen was a spiteful individual who got what he deserved, I did feel bad for throwing him under the bus. But what overcame that reticence was when people started attacking the school when they did not understand the entire story. If PCC is too respectful of his privacy to release a statement then I sure as heck will and I will not apologize for it.