Fact Check

Are California College Students Cutting Off Their Genitals Over Trump's 'Wall' Plan?

A dubious web site fabricated an account of a student protest over President Trump's plans for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Published Jan. 17, 2017

Two college students have vowed to remove their own penises to protest a planned U.S.-Mexico border wall.

In January 2017, an article published on an obscure (and dubious) web site called RightWingNow.com purported to describe a bizarre form of student protest over President Donald Trump's plan to build a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico:

In a bizarre form of protest, University of California freshman Seth Greenberg has promised to publicly remove his penis (he did not specify the method of removal) if Donald Trump begins project work on the US Mexican border wall.

“I’m so confident that Trump is full of shit, that I will cut my dick off, publicly if he adds even a mile of new wall” stated Greenberg in an on the street interview, where he was simultaneously protesting prayer in public school.

When pressed about the validity of his claim, Greenberg promised that “I will really do this. I feel that if he does actually build any of the wall, me removing my penis publicly will bring worldwide attention to the injustice being inflicted against the Mexican people.”

Other sites ran the same story, with at least one adding to it by both referencing actual quotes from President-elect Donald Trump and posting a supposed picture of the student named "Greenburg" who threatened to cut off his penis in protest. But that picture was not of anyone named "Greenburg," nor did it have anything to do with the University of California system: it is actually taken from an interview with an Umpqua Community College student following a shooting attack at that school on 1 October 2015.

The site that originated the Greenberg "interview" doubled down two days later with a second story adding another student, "Jakob Connulson," and an alleged political group, "Open Borders Friends," to the mix.

Like the nonexistent "Greenberg" student pictured in the stolen photograph, neither Connulson nor any group bearing the name "Open Borders Friends" appears to exist on any University of California campus.  

Arturo Garcia is a former writer for Snopes.