The new joint campus police chief for Mount Holyoke College and Smith College in Massachusetts has been placed on leave after his personal Twitter account sparked outrage among students. The police chief had allegedly “liked” tweets from the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump, which caused students to question whether their campus community is “safe.”
Students at Mount Holyoke College and Smith College expressed fear for their own safety upon realizing that their new campus police chief, Daniel Hect, had allegedly clicked the heart icon on Twitter to “like” tweets by the NRA and President Trump, among other users.
Both colleges have recently announced that Hect is now on administrative leave.
“In one tweet Hect liked, Twitter user pjwolf01 wrote, ‘Stay the course Pres. Trump,’ and in another, Twitter user Lonewold2347 wrote, ‘BUILD THAT WALL!!’ He also liked a tweet from the National Rifle Association that said, ‘The National Rifle Association wishes you and your family a very Merry Christmas!’” read a recent article in Smith College’s student newspaper, The Sophian.
The student newspaper went on to note that students at Mount Holyoke College “rose up on social media” against Hect after returning from spring break.
“After this backlash from students, Hect met with representatives from Mount Holyoke’s Student Government Association and held a Q&A session with them,” continued the student newspaper, “After the meeting and community forum, Hect sent an email to the student body in response.”
According to The Sophian, Hect sent an email to students, addressing their reaction to his Twitter ‘likes,’ in which he stated that he is “committed to dedicating [him]self and the entire campus police force to being a positive influence on campus safety,” and would be participating in “listening sessions” to hear students’ concerns.
“However, many Smith and Mount Holyoke students are still deeply concerned, frustrated and angry,” affirmed the student newspaper, adding that students then put up flyers and wrote “chalk messages” to raise awareness and “educate the Smith community about these concerns.”
The flyers reportedly said, “THIS IS SMITH’S NEW CHIEF OF POLICE, IS OUR COMMUNITY SAFE?”
“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,” said Mount Holyoke College president Sonya Stephens in a recent statement to the campus community.
“In light of this, Chief Hect, who leads campus police at Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, has been placed on administrative leave,” added Stephens.
Smith College president Kathleen McCartney had also released a similar statement on Wednesday.
“In recent weeks, members of our campus community have voiced a lack of trust in recently appointed Campus Police Chief Daniel Hect, who leads campus police at Smith and Mount Holyoke colleges,” said McCartney, “Similar concerns have been raised at Mount Holyoke. In light of these concerns, the colleges have placed Chief Hect on administrative leave.”
Both colleges added that they are working together to determine the next steps.
Breitbart News is unable to confirm which tweets the police chief had “liked,” as Hect appears to have deleted his Twitter account.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.