Guest Column: Free speech is still a tenant of CSUF Republicans

In Opinion
A photo of Langsdorf hall

In the blue state of California, it’s almost inconceivable that a conservative millennial exists, especially at a university. Although American college campuses are supposed to represent the marketplace of ideas, it seems these institutions of education have increasingly become bastions of groupthink where only one viewpoint is acceptable — hard-line liberalism.

The longer I attend Cal State Fullerton, the more I find that conservative students do exist on campus. However, these students feel bullied and berated into silence by their professors and peers. Personally, I’ve received more disdain from other students rather than professors. I’ve been spit at and verbally castigated by fellow students in classes, meetings and on Titan Walk.

However, many of my professors have turned to me to represent the conservative opinion during class discussions. I’ve also had the incredible opportunity to talk about the issues I care about through my assignments and presentations with little to no negative repercussions from my professors. However, many students aren’t so lucky.

Other students receive worse grades after sharing their independent or conservative opinions in class. Even one of the members from the CSUF Republicans club was kicked out of an academic program due to false claims of extreme right-wing behavior, even though she personally identified as more politically left-leaning at the time. Another member from the CSUF Republicans club was allegedly assaulted by a liberal professor during a rally on campus, according to a 2017 Daily Titan article.

While tabling on Titan Walk, we’ve been approached by students time and time again who stop by for only a moment to say they support us, but cannot join or even be seen near us due to the possibility of backlash from their left-leaning professors and peers.

Finally, when the CSUF Republicans hosted a speaking event on campus, extreme leftist students attempted to incite the administration and student government to ban the speaker from exercising his First Amendment rights.

Ironically, the purpose of this event was to open a campuswide dialogue on free speech, which we achieved. Antifa, also know as anti-fascists, even showed up to protest the speaker, resulting in some violence, though successfully squelched by the vigilant campus police. All of this in the name of tolerance.

For an institution that claims to promote unity, diversity and inclusivity, it’s ironic that those with varied ideological views are the most mistreated on campus. Open discourse seems to only be acceptable when the opinion is shared by the vocal left. This is not true free speech or civil discourse.

The left in this country and on campus have successfully marginalized all who refuse to toe the party line. Disagree with one sentiment of the platform and you are essentially excommunicated, and deemed as hateful or even evil. This has pushed all classical Liberals, Moderates, Conservatives and anyone with a mind of their own, to the right.

Fortunately, people like me have found our place in organizations of like-minded individuals. Joining the CSUF Republicans was one of the best decisions of my college experience, offering me a community where my own ideas were encouraged and challenged.

Open dialogue is a core principle to this group, offering support to students in their ideological exploration and diversity. At our meetings, we candidly talk about current events and relevant political topics, with members ranging from Republican to Libertarian to Independent. Without this varied group of freethinkers with differing ideas and opinions, our discussions wouldn’t be as rousing and productive.

The right has become a haven for students who seek to make up their minds for themselves. The classical liberal ideas of liberty, free speech and freedom from the government have become cornerstones of modern conservatism. Students care about their right to protection and keeping their hard-earned money in their own pockets. These are common issues we find ourselves coming together to support.

I’m proud to be part of a group that meets intolerance with a smile, saying, “I’m all ears.” Without open political discourse, none of us would grow.

Brooke Paz

CSUF Republicans President

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