In a video produced by Project Veritas, a non-profit established by conservative journalist James O’Keefe, college administrators are shown agreeing to personally shred a pocket Constitution at the request of an undercover reporter posing as a student.
The undercover reporter approached several faculty members at Vassar and Oberlin Colleges and told them that she felt “triggered” by the founding document’s distribution on campus. “The Constitution is kind of a trigger for me. Overall I see it just as a really oppressive document,” she said.
Furthermore, the administrators confided that they shared the reporter’s feelings about the founding document although Project Veritas admitted that they “didn’t think people would fall for” the ploy.
“Last week something kinda happened on campus that kind of really upset me and I ended up having a panic attack,” the reporter tells Vassar College Assistant Director of Equal Opportunity Kelly Grab. “It’s just I’ve been kind of hiding out in my room ever since kind of scared, so, finally somebody told me I should maybe come talk to you about it and see if there’s anything that can happen or anything … They were handing the Constitution out on campus.”
“They were handing it out and as soon as I saw it you know I started to not be able to breathe, hyperventilating,” the reporter elaborated. “My vision went blurry and I just—kind of just lost control.”
After establishing that the reaction was triggered merely by the offering of copies of the Constitution and not by anything the group had said, Grab offers her sympathies to the reporter.
“And so what I think you’re sharing with me is that your interaction in receiving this was harming, right?” Grab confirms. “And that’s what we certainly want to avoid; we don’t want to limit people in exchanging ideas or having opposing viewpoints, but when it’s disruptive or causing harm…”
Eventually, the reporter suggested that shredding the copy of the Constitution she brought into the office could be “therapeutic,” and suggests that Grab destroy it.
Grab then asks the reporter, “Did you want to do it with me?”
The video then show Grab and the reporter enter another office, where Grab proceeds to shred the entire Constitution, page by page.
Additionally, when the reporter tried the same story at Oberlin College in Ohio, several faculty members made similarly shocking statements.
Colleen Cohen, faculty director of affirmative action and professor of anthropology at Vassar, told the reporter that “it’s horrible that this is something that has caused you such pain. … Can I destroy this?”
When the complaint was brought to Wendy Kozol, Professor/Chair of Comparative American Studies at Oberlin, she agreed after a long pause that “[t]he Constitution in everyday life causes people pain,” adding that she rarely discusses the Constitution in class, and that when she does she tends to focus on specific amendments.
“So, obviously my end goal is I want the Constitution to not have such a central part here at Oberlin—I would like people to see how discriminating it is and how racist it is,” the reporter tells Kozol. “Do you think that’s a reasonable goal that we could get to?”
“Absolutely,” Kozol says. “I think there are a lot of people who will immediately agree with you and join the conversation and think about ways to limit, confine, or talk back; maybe you just want to talk back to the Constitution.”
Carol Lasser, Professor of History and Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Oberlin, likewise concurred that “[t]he Constitution is an oppressive document” because it intentionally makes change a slow process.
“We were amazed and disappointed,” the narrator of the video admits at the end of the film. “Political correctness and cultural sensitivity run amok.”