Protesters: Free speech protects 'racist violence and bigotry'
The students who were arrested for shouting down a College Republicans meeting last week are insisting that “hateful groups” do not deserve free speech protections.
In a document described as “the OFFICIAL STATEMENT on behalf of the people who disrupted the [C]ollege [R]epublicans meeting,” the students argue that appeals to “free speech” and “free assembly” are simply a ruse by the College Republicans and the University of California-Santa Cruz itself to protect the “racist violence and bigotry” of “right-wing politics.”
"They're a bunch of overly sensitive cowards and everyone knows it."
“UCPD arrested three students engaged in an act of civil disobedience on campus, showing as the university has time and again, the readiness at which armed force will be called upon to protect the ‘free speech’ of hateful groups at the expense of those who speak out against them,” the statement begins, asserting that the protesters were merely “demanding that [the College Republicans] halt their harmful activity.
“If it wasn’t already clear, it is at this point where we urge everybody to realize that this is not a dialogue,” the students continue, declaring that “there can be no ‘dialogue’ when the institutional power is given to one side at the expense of the other.”
“They are correct—it is not a dialogue when you decide to verbally attack the people you oppose, refusing to hear them out and instead try to shout them down,” UCSC College Republicans President Brandon Lang told Campus Reform.
“The question is not how students who have ‘unequal power’ talk with each other while in a country that protects their rights just the same as everyone else and at a university which treats all students equally,” he argued, “but rather how do we engage with people who have beliefs that are so demonstrably divorced from our reality and they choose to never listen.”
The student activists justified their shutdown of the CR meeting on the grounds that its members “spread an agenda of intolerance and terror, and embolden racist violence and bigotry,” adding that their “support for Donald Trump and ‘conservative’ policies are directly connected to enforcing social inequalities in the United States, and creating wars and violence abroad.”
Although the statement concedes that not all CR members share “the same views as these bigots on the far right,” it insists that they are all nonetheless complicit because they “embolden one another under the same banner of ‘free speech.’”
Lang called this the most “confusing” aspect of the whole statement, pointing out that these students “continue to condemn” the College Republicans “despite not having any evidence” of hateful or bigoted behavior on the part of the club or its members.
Nonetheless, the protesters also criticized the university itself, claiming that “the school has continuously taken the side of racist groups like the College Republicans by defending their harmful speech as ‘free speech’ and ‘free assembly’,” and lamenting that UCSC “has never responded to any reports made against the College Republicans” via the university’s “hate” reporting system.
“The two community principles of ‘diversity and inclusion’ and ‘free speech’ starkly contradict one another, and we have seen the the [sic] university consistently prioritizes the protection of ‘diversity and inclusion’ last,” the statement concludes, declaring that “We are truly committed to a diverse, inclusive, and just environment, and are not satisfied by the university’s insufficient measures to enforce such an environment in our community."
“Their charge that values such as the upholding of free speech and diversity and inclusion contradict each other can only lead me to conclude that they have little to no understanding of either,” Lang told Campus Reform.
“I hold no ill will towards these people, but I wish that they'd do as they demand everyone else to do and educate themselves,” he added. “They're a bunch of overly sensitive cowards and everyone knows it. The only question is why they refuse see that.”
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