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“The most hated conservative college student in the state”: How a UNT student embroiled her campus in a culture war

Senior Kelly Neidert has repeatedly thrust the University of North Texas into the conservative media spotlight, most recently by bringing Texas House candidate Jeff Younger to campus. Her motive? It depends on who you ask.

Kelly Neidert stands near Library Mall at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (Emil Lippe for The Texas Tribune)
03/02/2022, Denton, Texas

Jeff Younger departs UNT campus with police protection. Protestors peacefully demonstrated outside of Curry Hall during a Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) meeting where Texas House candidate Jeff Younger attempted to speak in opposition of children in the transgender community.

Credit: Matt Iaia

Getting the attention of conservative media

Kelly Neidert prepares for a presentation before a meeting for the Young Conservatives of Texas at UNT inside the G. Brint Ryan College of Business at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (Emil Lippe for The Texas Tribune)

Students push to get Neidert and her group expelled

03/02/2022, Denton, Texas
A group of protesters stand on the steps of Curry Hall. Protesters peacefully demonstrated on UNT's campus during a Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) meeting where Texas House candidate Jeff Younger attempted to speak in opposition of children in the transgender community.
Protest signs line the stairs of Curry Hall on the campus of University of North Texas during the protest on March 2, 2022.

The path to campus activism  

Protesters gathered outside of the G. Brint Ryan College of Business at UNT, where Young Conservatives of Texas were holding a meeting in a classroom on the ground floor.
Steven Crowder asks a student about a message on a piece of paper that he’s holding up while asking students about their thoughts on transgender issues at the Library Mall at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. The piece of paper read, “Radical Trans Liberation Now!”. (Emil Lippe for The Texas Tribune)
The theme of Steven Crowder’s YouTube episode hangs on the edge of a table at the Library Mall at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Crowder asked students about their thoughts on the topic throughout the morning and early afternoon.

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