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Professors at California State University, Chico (CSU, Chico) are accusing the school’s College Republicans student group of harboring “white supremacist” views and subjecting students to “racist provocation” due to their support of President Donald Trump, adding that just because conservative students have free speech rights “does not in any way mean we have to sit by, silently.” The professors’ statement arrives roughly two weeks after the school’s College Republicans chapter president was assaulted on campus.
The California State University-Chico State Faculty Association (CFA) released a statement on Wednesday accusing conservative students on campus of expressing “white supremacist ideas” over their support for President Donald Trump, according to a report by Campus Reform.
The article goes on to state the following:
CFA’s statement arrives roughly two weeks after a video surfaced on social media showing a protester shouting expletives at College Republicans chapter president Michael Curry, before taking his sign and striking him in the face with it.
Read the statement from California Faculty Association, Chico Chapter below:
Greetings to Everyone engaged in the important work,
Here are some responses to the white supremacist ideas expressed on our campus in the week before the Thanksgiving Holiday.
We are living in strange times when a student organization displaying banners and signs supporting reelection of the sitting president can be experienced as an act of racist provocation, but we must be honest. There has not been another president in US history whose very name was actually a signal and symbol of insult, derision, and ridicule of specific groups within our society. It would be disingenuous to deny that Trump has this impact as he is clearly associated, by design, with white supremacist ideas. Further, the recent release of emails from White House Aid Stephen Miller demonstrate that he has promoted white supremacist ideas in his communications.
Since this is true, we want students, staff, and faculty of color, as well as members of any other groups that have been targeted by white supremacist insults, ridicule, and other forms of oppression to know that CFA sees the harm that is inflicted when we are all subjected to witness such abuse.
Some aspects of this situation are simple. Student organizations absolutely may reserve space for a booth that displays their candidate’s name. There can be no question that such political speech is absolutely protected by the First Amendment. But the problem happens when we stop the conversation at this single, obvious point.
While the conversations we need to have –on campus and throughout our society– must include the parameters of protected First Amendment speech (and what time/place/manner restrictions are permitted and appropriate under various circumstances), the conversations must not be limited to those principles.
To fail to acknowledge the context in which the protests on campus in November occurred does a disservice to the members of our campus community who have been targeted by ongoing acts of harassment and even physical abuse on the basis of race, gender, and perceived sexual orientation in the past weeks and months. The context of this targeting and harassment, and the failure to respond effectively to fully acknowledge the harms being done and to fully protect these students, staff, and faculty from hateful comments and actions, adds insult to injury and leaves many in our community frustrated and demoralized.
The protests of the student organization’s sign and banner displays did not happen in a vacuum. Students of color at Chico State have been registering complaints of racially offensive comments, events, harassing behavior, stalking, cyber bullying, and even violence for far too long without seeing an effective response by the University as a whole. To many students it appears that discipline has been meted out quickly with unseemly haste against students who object to racism, while consequences for the racist provocateurs has been muted. All such incidents contribute to an environment that feels oppressive and even frightening to many.
We must do better at protecting targeted students from the harmful impacts of ignorant racist, sexist, and other oppressive behavior and speech. We stand with our students. We see the efforts to provoke them. We see the insults. We are here to work with them to create responses that allow them to express their frustration, even their rage, at such insult and threats in a manner that does not set them up to be punished. Such punishment reinforces the long history this society has of silencing minority voices.
Finally, the hypocrisy of right-wing political voices crying out that they are being silenced is absurd. No one in authority is silencing them. Rejecting the abusive, insulting, and corrupt president/candidate they support is not punishment. They face no disciplinary sanction for such demonstrations (and have not even been punished for the far more harmful and disgraceful off-campus events they have arranged in which targeted groups and individuals are ridiculed and harassed). But just because they have a right to express their views does not in any way mean we have to sit by, silently, and pretend that such views are not offensive and even provoking to many members of our community. Because, make no mistake, they are.
CFA Chico Chapter Executive Board
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