SAN DIEGO, September 27, 2011 — “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill
It takes immense courage to be a conservative activist, especially a conservative activist at an American university.
Expect to make enemies, offend campus leftists, and face incessant hostile scrutiny. Some are lucky to find their niche and succeed, while others have to entirely fend for themselves. Nevertheless, touting conservatism on campus helps one develop a thick skin and learn to be fearless.
To dispel doubts about what transpires at universities—many of which are funded by tax dollars—consider these incidents.
Northern Arizona University’s conservative club could not hand out flags and accompanying fliers when commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9-11.
University of Maryland—Baltimore County’s conservative group was finally approved after members battled campus bureaucratic resistance.
There are countless examples of hostility to conservative groups at universities nationwide. The recent uproar at UC Berkeley over an affirmative action bake sale is just the latest, and one of the most widely discussed.
The Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) scheduled an affirmative action bake sale for Tuesday, September 27, 2011, to highlight the inequality enshrined in affirmative action policies (reverse discrimination). This came in wake of California Senate Bill 185—which was introduced to overturn 1996 law Proposition 209, legislation that outlawed quotas in university admissions.
Governor Jerry Brown has yet to sign it into law. If approved, SB 185 would disable Prop. 209:
“This bill would authorize the University of California and require the California State University to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions, to the maximum extent permitted by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 31 of Article I of the California Constitution, and relevant case law.”
In an attempt to illustrate the anti-SB 185 perspective, Berkeley’s Republican club decided to host an event to highlight the inequality such legislation injects into university admissions. Below is the original Facebook event post:
Most students feel that their voices aren’t heard in the baked goods distribution process controversy. They also believe that our UCs and CSUs need to be more diverse. YOU have the OPPORTUNITY to increase DIVERSITY and student VOICES by buying some PASTRIES and helping redistribute wealth for SOCIAL JUSTICE through BAKED GOODS on Sproul Plaza (9/27/11).
Berkeley College Republicans will be SELLING BAKED GOODS from 10 AM – 2PM across from the Affirmative Action Phonebank on Upper Sproul, and just like the CA Senate Bills 185 and 387 the phonebank supports, we will be considering RACE, GENDER, ETHNICITY, NATIONAL/GEOGRAPHIC ORIGIN and other relevant factors to ensure the EQUITABLE distribution of BAKED GOODS to our DIVERSE! student body.To ensure the fairest distribution, and make sure that there are a DIVERSE population of RACES of students getting BCR’s delicious baked goods, the pricing structure will be as follows:
Asian/Asian American: $1.50
Black/ African American: $0.75
Native American: $0.25
$0.25 OFF FOR ALL WOMEN!
Hope to see you all there! If you don’t come, you’re a racist!
BCR chair Shawn Lewis told CNN this event is meant to be controversial.
“We agree that the event is inherently racist, but that is the point.”
He elaborated, “It is no more racist than giving an individual an advantage in college admissions based solely on their race (or) gender.”
Berkeley leftists immediately went on the offensive.
Some planned to disrupt the September 27 event, while others have personally threatened members of the Berkeley College Republicans. Additionally, Berkeley’s student government—the ASUC—passed “A Bill in Support of Respectful ASUC Student Group Conduct” in response to the event. Although the group cannot be collectively punished, individual members of the Berkeley College Republicans could face some penalties.
Nevertheless, some Berkeley students have come to BCR’s defense with respect to free speech.
Daily Californian columnist Casey Given, a former Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intern, wrote, “In a darkly lit room, a nervous cluster of college Republicans sat waiting to hear the latest bit of backlash. These students are afraid for their lives. For the past few days, some of them have received violent threats through Facebook, email and even in person. As I sat listening to the sad conversation, a whirlwind of thoughts flew through my mind.”
He added, “Is this the Berkeley I had dreamed about in high school? A place where people are physically threatened for speaking their mind? It seems to me that the home of the Free Speech Movement had become blatantly hypocritical, abandoning its adherence to rational discourse at points of disagreement.”
The Berkeley College Republicans should be commended—not condemned—for their efforts. It is refreshing to see leftists cringe at the sight of genuine diversity: intellectual diversity.
Rather than commending merit and student achievement, affirmative action gives preferential treatment to students on the premise of race, ethnicity, or geographical location. Many courts of law have found this legislation in contempt of the Constitution and American laws. This form of social engineering devalues students’ self-worth and discounts their human capabilities.
BCR: You can depend on your fellow campus conservatives. We will be standing with you in the fight to promote intellectual diversity on campuses nationwide.
Gabriella Hoffman is a senior at UC-San Diego who balances life as a student with life as a conservative activist. She’s majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. She serves as the Executive Assistant on The Rick Amato Show, and produces the “Top Young Con of the Week” segment each Monday.
Gabriella maintains her own blog at www.thegabriellahoffman.com. She is a regular contributor and staff member of UC-San Diego’s conservative paper, The California Review. She also serves as the Director of College outreach for Eagle Forum of San Diego.
You can read Gabriella’s Communities column at “Being Young, Conservative and Spicy.”
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