The campus chief of police at Mount Holyoke College has been suspended over his past pro-Trump tweets.
Mass Live reported that Daniel Hect, police chief for both Smith College and Mount Holyoke College, was placed on administrative leave Wednesday, according to a statements by the presidents of both schools that referred to questions of trust.
Smith’s student newspaper, The Sophian, earlier published a story that says Mount Holyoke students found that Hect, using his Twitter account, had liked tweets that were “almost exclusively in response to President Trump’s tweets and included anti-immigrant, pro-gun rights and racist sentiments.” Hect’s Twitter account has since been deleted, The Sophian reported.
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The campus chief of police at Mount Holyoke College has been placed on leave after students confronted him about supporting President Trump.
Students dug up tweets from Chief Daniel Hect which showed he thinks favorably of Trump, likes the National Rifle Association, and supports a Mexican border wall.
Last month, members of the Mount Holyoke administration held a forum for students to engage with the newly hired chief of campus police. The Mount Holyoke News reports that students questioned Hect about his personal views amid “tension and tears.”
Hect reportedly told students at the forum that he was “going through [his] Twitter feed, and deleting comments and likes” in order to make the community feel more safe.
Hect apologized for his tweets and “any damage they may have caused,” saying “[the tweets referencing the phrase] build a wall, obviously, on my end, [were] a huge mistake.”
However the apology and social media cleansing was apparently not enough for the Mount Holyoke community as Sonya Stephens, president of the college, emailed students last Wednesday night about Hect being placed on administrative leave.
“Over the past few weeks, members of our community have expressed concerns about the ability of Chief Daniel Hect to develop the level of trust required to engage in community policing,” Stephens emailed students and faculty. “In light of this, Chief Hect, who leads campus police at Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, has been placed on administrative leave.”
Hect previously served as police chief at Denison University in Ohio and has a military background. He became chief of police at Mt. Holyoke less than two months ago.
The college is not making any further statement at this time but the school’s College Republicans group have come out to condemn the clearly biased treatment of a law enforcement official.
Michelle Dang, president of the Mount Holyoke College Republicans, released a statement to the campus watchdog site Campus Reform:
“I reckon this unfair treatment toward Chief Daniel, a well-respected military veteran who has never allowed his viewpoints to affect his service,” Dang said. “I’m fearful for my own well-being here in Mount Holyoke. What if the same instance happens to me, will the college then pressure me to leave or put me on expulsion?”
Furthermore, the same students who dislike Hect are complaining that the school is hosting a police academy graduation on the campus.
This prompted a second email from the college president.
“Over the last few days, I have heard very clearly the concerns about our decision to allow the Police Academy to hold their graduation ceremony in Chapin Hall tomorrow,” Stephens wrote. “I have also heard and acknowledged the very real fear and the questions that have been raised by some members of our community in relation to this decision and the history of police violence, systems of oppression, and the ways in which marginalized members of society, including members of our own community, have been negatively impacted by interactions with the police.”
Unlike Hect, the graduation ceremony went on.
Stephens explained to students that “at some point, these very graduates may be acting to support and protect our campus and our community members.”