The CSUF College Republicans club put out a press release Monday in response to the Associated Students, Inc. Board of Directors’ Governance Committee passing a resolution denouncing the planned Oct. 31 visit of Milo Yiannopoulos.
The press release primarily outlined specific details regarding the Yiannopoulos event and the date for the full board of directors’ vote on the resolution. It also included statements from multiple members of the Republicans club sharing why they don’t agree with the board’s decision.
“I feel strongly that the second they denounce Milo or pass this resolution, it’s a signal,” said College Republicans club president Amanda McGuire. “It’s symbolic to them that they’re doing ‘the right thing,’ but it’s also symbolic to us as conservatives that we don’t have a place anymore, that we don’t have a voice and the chance to join the discussion as conservatives.”
The governance committee voted in favor of a resolution written by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences directors Elizabeth Jimenez Perez and Jesse Rodriguez Oct. 12.
Rodriguez, who also serves as the vice chair for the ASI Board of Directors, said any member of the board can pick up a resolution, which range from being purely symbolic stances to an influence on ASI policy. The resolution denouncing Yiannopoulos is symbolic.
“It’s an opportunity for us to state that although Milo Yiannopolous is able to come under certain conditions, because a club is able to sponsor his appearance, we really do not support a lot of what his rhetoric entails or his ‘Troll Academy’ tour,” Rodriguez said. “A lot of it doesn’t align with what we support as student government.”
The text of the resolution recounts the reasoning behind the two stances ASI could take if the board of directors votes to officiate it on Oct. 24 at 1:15 p.m. in the Titan Student Union Board Room.
It cites a previous history of ASI’s resolutions and alliance with statements and orders against discrimination from CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. It also notes the security costs and harmful rhetoric at Yiannopoulos’ previous events as well as the amount of signatures on Students for Quality Education’s anti-Yiannopoulos petition on change.org as reasons to denounce the provocateur’s appearance, and supports the coinciding Unity Block Party hosted by SQE and other student organizations.
“We wanted to publicly support that event because we feel like it’s going to celebrate diversity and it’s going to be a lot of teachings and workshops,” Rodriguez said. “If you don’t support this speaker who’s coming, there’s an alternative.”
Rodriguez said the fact that the board’s vote is a week before the Yiannopoulos event is coincidental, as all resolutions that get through the governance committee need to go to the board of directors two weeks after passage due to when agendas for the board meetings are released.
“They have the opportunity to vote no on it or table it,” Rodriguez said. “They can edit it and amend it and change a few words if they want to, and then we vote on those amendments, and then we just vote on whether or not to approve the resolution as a whole.”
College Republicans club public relations and event coordinator Brooke Paz said that up until now, the school has been “really helpful on a neutral basis,” but this resolution suggests conservatives’ speech is not welcome or respected on campus.
Paz said it sounds like a message suggesting ASI would shut down the Yiannopoulos event if they had the power to.
“We wanted to build some awareness that this is going on. That one fringe group that isn’t even registered on campus (SQE) is directing the agenda of the student government and that the student government is not representing the interests of conservative students, of moderate students or of the liberal students who come up to us and say ‘We don’t agree with your belief, but we support your right to bring a speaker on campus,’” Paz said.
Rodriguez said ASI acknowledges the fact that SQE is not a registered campus organization through Student Life & Leadership, but that there are other elements to account for when deciding what to support.
However, McGuire still feels the Board is taking sides.
“I understand that that’s who they’re hearing from and there are multiple organizations that don’t want him, but there is a group on campus that does want to bring Milo and (ASI) needs to be representative of them as well. That’s just their job,” McGuire said.
McGuire said the Republicans club is looking to have a large presence at the board of director’s meeting when they vote on the resolution.
“We’ve heard from a few Democrats even that don’t support this thing to denounce Milo, that they’d rather allow the speaker to come onto campus instead of giving the symbolic mark that we don’t want him,” McGuire said.
Tickets for the Yiannopoulos event are no longer being sold in the TSU because of the demand for online purchasing, McGuire said. They are available on the College Republicans club website.
McGuire said the club has sold over half of the 800 tickets available.
“He is coming. He is able to come. They are able to bring speakers that they want,” Rodriguez said. “The resolution is recognizing that a lot of the speaker’s history isn’t something that we necessarily support, so maybe that’s something that they should consider as well. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion.”