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Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Critical Inception group visits Wofford for unexpected flat earth rally

Pictured+is+a+representative+of+Critical+Inception+talking+to+students+and+faculty+alike+during+the+organization%E2%80%99s+unsolicited+visit+to+campus+for+Flatoberfest.+Photo+by+Paulina+Veremchuk
Pictured is a representative of Critical Inception talking to students and faculty alike during the organization’s unsolicited visit to campus for Flatoberfest. Photo by Paulina Veremchuk

On Oct. 25, 2021, a group of people calling themselves “flat earthers” and a part of the organization “Critical Inception” were seen outside of Wofford’s Sandor Teszler Library and around campus. 

The group handed out flying discs and promoted various conspiracy theories, the most prominent of which claiming  that the earth is flat. 

This was not a planned event for the Wofford community, and video documentation showed Campus Safety questioning the rally participants on Campus Drive, between Daniel Building and Greene Residence Hall. 

The main concern of public safety indicated by the officer in the video was that there was a flat earther without a shirt on speaking to numerous students. 

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Published on the organization’s YouTube channel, video of the activism can be seen, including a portion in which many of the flat earthers are seen telling the shirtless man to leave, as he is not welcomed and would potentially get arrested. 

“You can call the cops on me right now,” said the shirtless man. “I’ll get in the cop car right now” 

“He’s not with us,” the advocates for Critical Inception subsequently stated. “He’s literally a troll.”

With no immediate threat to the campus’ safety, the conversations ran rampant.

When approaching students, memembers of the group asked invasive questions and presented a QR code for an app containing more detailed information on the flat earth. 

A second-year student, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated that the only reason he and his friends allowed themselves to be subjected to the conversation is because they were offering $10 per person to talk and/or listen.

Another student added that there was an offer of $20 to go on a “mystery walk,” where even the offerors did not know where the ending was.

Jude Walker ’25, rally attendee, noted that they were all speaking over each other and could not agree on the answers to many questions that he and others had. 

This was somewhat in conflict with the mission that the flat-earthers had for coming to Wofford’s campus: 

“They said that they were a group of independent, free thinkers, and were willing to answer any questions people had,” said Walker. 

Judson Stewart ’25 had a similarly contradicting experience with the free thinkers. 

“I will say that I had a very pleasant conversation with one guy who told me to just believe whatever I want to believe,” said Stewart. “But just about every word (everyone else) said was nonsense and the fact that some of them were arguing that Wofford is a prison camp and is trying to reprogram brains really put the nail in the coffin of any sort of credibility they had.”

President Nayef Samhat commented on the situation. 

“I did not see the Flat Earthers who have been protesting in Spartanburg this week, but I was told that they showed up on campus uninvited and unannounced (on Oct. 25),” he said. “Campus Safety and the Spartanburg City Police asked them to leave, and they did, reluctantly.”

Samhat also added that the Wofford College administration has “encouraged students and other members of the Wofford community to share their views.”

However, the “ability to limit outside groups, especially those that have no affiliation with our college community” is inherent to the nature of being a private institution, Samhat said, while adding this policy will continue into the college’s future. 

The unstructured and spontaneous event came to a close when campus safety and city police were finally able to escort the protesters away from campus after about two hours of conversation with the Wofford community. 

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About the Contributor
Brandi Wylie
Brandi Wylie, Editor-In-Chief
Education Major from Spartanburg, SC
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