CORRECTION: This article was updated at 3:40 p.m. on May 8 to change a misquote from “radically-charged behavior” to “racially-charged behavior.”
CORRECTION: This article was updated at 3:40 p.m. on May 8 to reflect that Bruschke contacted Eyring prior to the Cinco de Mayo flyer post to bring the fake account to her attention. Bruschke also did not specifically request that the accounts be removed.
A fake “Students for Quesadillas and Enchiladas” Cinco de Mayo fundraiser event advertised on Instagram was brought before the Academic Senate in an emergency resolution Thursday due to allegations of hate speech.
“Just say ‘I love the Hispanics’ and 10 percent of your purchase will go toward Real SQE club events,” stated the @realsqe Instagram caption advertising the fake TSU Baja Fresh fundraiser.
The Instagram account @realsqe is a fake account of the CSUF group Students for Quality Education. SQE’s actual account is @csuf_sqe_official.
The resolution, written and proposed by SQE faculty advisor and Senate member Jon Bruschke, Ph.D., states “The flyer is clearly designed for the racial mockery of Latinx students and groups.”
It called for further investigation by Student Affairs because it conflicted with campus policies of civility and diversity. The Senate passed the resolution with one abstention and no opposition.
“Whoever wrote that post was trying to say something offensive and intimidating, and it seems to me that the Senate used its voice to express its objection to that content to counter hateful speech with taking the statement that ‘we find this to be uncivil and contrary to our campus values,’” Bruschke said.
SQE posted the mock Cinco de Mayo flyer from its official account and accused the CSUF College Republicans and Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) clubs of being behind the fake account.
“It’s still vital to recognize how disgustingly racist and dehumanizing this post is. It not only mocks and exploits Chicanx folx and their history/culture, it also minimizes their identities to just food, making it something to capitalize off of, as if the community does not face that enough on Cinco de Mayo and everyday in our society,” stated part of the @csuf_sqe_official caption.
It is “typical behavior” of SQE to accuse the College Republicans club of being racist, said club President Chris Boyle.
“We’ve never said or done anything racist. It would be absurd for us to be a racist organization. Half of my executive board is Latino,” Boyle said. “I’m married to a foreigner.”
While the @realsqe account is not an officially sanctioned club action, he said it is being run by members of the CSUF College Republicans club.
“I know the members who are doing it. I am not going to tell them to stop. It is not my place to censor my member’s speech,” Boyle said. “They are not doing anything that is abusive or hateful or anything like that. It is a parody account.”
Bruschke said the fake account was brought to his attention, he contacted CSUF College Republicans club advisor Janet Eyring, Ph.D., to bring it to her attention.
Eyring said in an email she spoke with Boyle and was told the club “was not sponsoring” the account but individuals in the club “may be doing this on their own.”
“I did not see or know about any advertisement for a fake Cinco de Mayo event at Baja Fresh and, of course, would not endorse any club member engaging in that type of activity,” Eyring said in an email.
SQE member Liz Sanchez claimed YAL President Aaron Van Meter Jones was one of the main administrators for the fake account along with others who also hold positions on the CSUF College Republicans club executive board.
“Liz Sanchex is free to make any allegations she wants. I don’t have time for this,” Jones said in a text message. “This seems to be a beef between two groups, neither of which have any official connection to this campus. I am not sure how my officially sanctioned club YAL has anything to do with this.”
The @realsqe account has 24 posts ranging from criticisms of SQE’s “racially-charged behavior” to a “Pepe the Frog” meme and a cartoon of suspended anthropology lecturer Eric Canin beating “free speech” with a tolerance sign.
“What they are doing is hate speech. What they are doing is impacting the mental health of the marginalized communities on campus who are scared to even exist on campus knowing these students are there,” Sanchez said.
Boyle maintained the account was meant to be a parody and likened it to Saturday Night Live “lampooning” Donald Trump.
“I think parody is a time-honored means of both comedy and political commentary,” Boyle said.
Boyle said the people running SQE are “a little ridiculous” and said it is “not unimaginable they are being ridiculed.” He said he thinks the account is run by someone “with a sense of humor.”
“I do feel like everyone, except the lactose intolerant and vegans can get behind the idea of bringing more quality enchiladas to campus,” Jones said in a text message.
SQE’s goals as activists are being misunderstood, Sanchez said.
“It is not okay to push someone who has never had full rights or full equity, communities that have been constantly marginalized. It is not okay to make fun of them and to push them back into the dark,” Sanchez said. “He can say we are ridiculous and call us snowflakes all day long but we are not going anywhere. We are going to fight this and we will be strong.”
Instagram user @keep_me_wild_ called the account a “troll page” in a comment on their first post and questioned why they would partake in “childish bulls***” against “an amazing organization that is fighting for change.”
The @realsqe account stated in a response that they were not “trolls” but rather “actual students who are for quality education” whose intention was not to imitate the “unregistered” campus SQE group or promote their goals.
“Someone has to stand up to their violent and hateful rhetoric, as well as the leftist, Marxist indoctrination in our classrooms and the suppression of dissenting voices. That’s what we are here for. We are a voice for students who are targeted on campus for their political views. I’m sorry you fail to see the importance of our existence,” @realsqe said in a comment on its page.
While campus clubs should be able to express their political views, they should use their own online accounts to do so, Bruschke said.
“It seems that they should just have the courage to sign their own name to what they are saying,” Bruschke said. “Don’t pretend to be somebody else and post it under their name.”