Flyers accuse prof of 'racism' for advising Cal Poly Republicans
The faculty advisor of the California Polytechnic University College Republicans is being targeted by the school’s Queer Student Union for failing to prevent the club from inviting Milo Yiannopoulos to campus.
“It is ill-informed, reactionary, cowardly, underhanded, divisive, bigoted, and...legally actionable.”
Flyers posted around campus and on Facebook by the QSU display a photo of Dr. Brian Kennelly, a French professor who himself happens to be homosexual, alongside the caption, “My name is Brian Kennelly. I’m the advisor for the CP College Republicans. I’m also bringing the white supremacist Nazi Milo Yiannopoulos to campus.”
The flyers then give Kennelly’s faculty email address, saying, “Email me...to tell me what you think!”
When asked why they were targeting Kennelly, the QSU told Campus Reform that students “have a right to know which faculty members are sponsoring racism and bigotry on campus,” accusing Kennelly of “promoting a super fucked up version of the Republican party” on their campus, and declaring that “there are consequences for free speech.”
The QSU then paradoxically went on to complain that one of its members, Mick Bruckner, has received threats due to a Facebook post that mimicked the QSU’s own, which the group has reported to both the administration and campus police.
According to New Times, Bruckner has clashed with Kennelly before over the Yiannopoulos invitation, sending the professor an email in September with the subject line “Brian Kennelly Promotes Racism on Campus.”
“What we are wondering—is why your community of alt-right supporters would think its ok to target an individual student, especially given the history with death threats and social media on this campus,” QSU told Campus Reform.
Notably, Kennelly was not personally responsible for inviting Milo to campus, which was a decision made by the CR leadership, but the QSU defended its decision to direct their ire at the advisor.
“Oh honey, that's not how responsibility works in this day and age,” the group contended. “There are consequences for your racism.”
When pressed further, however, the QSU conceded that Kennelly was not entirely at “fault” for inviting Yiannopoulos, but insisted that he was still “partially responsible,” because “when you are the advisor to a club, you are responsible for their actions.”
The Cal Poly College Republicans disputed those arguments in a statement to Campus Reform, calling the backlash against Kennelly “homophobic” and unwarranted.
“Dr. Kennelly was not involved with our speaker selection. He is being unfairly targeted for something he had nothing to do with,” the CRs maintained. “It’s unfortunate that the QSU is targeting Milo, a gay guest speaker, and Kennelly, a gay professor and club adviser. The Cal Poly College Republicans will continue to support Kennelly as he faces this homophobic backlash.”
For his part, Kennelly made no secret of his disgust with the QSU’s tactics, intimating to Campus Reform that there is a lot more going on “behind the scenes,” claiming there is a “vicious” ongoing campaign against him by various groups on social media featuring “malicious” attacks on his character emanating from locales far remote from Cal Poly.
“It is ill-informed, reactionary, cowardly, underhanded, divisive, bigoted, and something that is legally actionable,” he declared.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @elias_atienza