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On April 11, U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) announced on his podcast ‘Firebrand’ that he is sending a scathing letter to Clemson University President James Clements regarding a recent viral video of university officials and officers strong-arming the Clemson College Republicans, including Chairman Trevor Tiedeman, from engaging in constitutionally protected activities on campus.

Outside a Clemson football game on April 6th, 2024, Chairman Tiedeman and the Clemson College Republicans were stopped by university staff and an unidentified officer from conducting First Amendment-protected activities. Rep. Gaetz’s letter raises concern over the university’s policies to protect students’ First Amendment activity on school grounds. Accordingly, Rep. Gaetz is requesting specific information be provided to his office, including actions being taken to prevent such incidents from happening again, no later than April 18th, 2024.

Full text of Congressman Gaetz’s letter to President Clements can be found HERE. Additionally, video of Rep. Gaetz’s interview with Chairman Tiedeman HERE and the announcement of the letter on his podcast can be found HERE.


President Clements:

At the April 6th spring football game at Memorial Stadium, some members of the Clemson College Republicans were accosted by university staff, including an unidentified officer, and strongarmed into stopping their First Amendment-protected activity just outside the stadium.  The incident is captured on video and it is clear that something went deeply wrong that day.

To his credit, Clemson University Vice President of Student Affairs Chris Miller has told the Clemson College Republicans that they are in the clear and violated no policy.  But no student, indeed no citizen on the grounds of a public institution, should have to go through this kind of ordeal.  I’m writing to you today to ask what remedial steps are being taken to ensure a repeat of this situation does not occur.

Please respond to the following questions, to my office, by April 18, 2024.

(1) What is the name of the responding officer at the incident?; and

(2) For whom does that officer work?; and

(3) Has Clemson communicated with or directed that officer’s employing office to look into the incident and / or review their policies and training regarding First Amendment-protected activities?; and

(4) What are the names of the responding Clemson University officials?; and

(5) For which offices at Clemson do those individuals work?; and

(6) What affirmative steps is Clemson taking to ensure that staff comport with the First Amendment?; and

(7) Will any disciplinary actions be taken against these Clemson University officials?; and


(8) Can Clemson University commit to allowing peaceful, non-disruptive First Amendment-protected activity (as was on display on April 6th), including allowing waving of signs, passing out of literature (including political literature), and discussion with passersby on public property?


Matt Gaetz
Member of Congress

Author: Press Release


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