Five killed and multiple injured in mass shooting in Northern California

(Katie Albertson / Daily Titan)

Provost Anil Puri wrote to faculty Oct. 9 about Milo Yiannopoulos’ “Troll Academy” scheduled for Oct. 31. Puri stated, “No classes or classroom activity will be affected on that day.”

Unfortunately, this is not true. At his recent speeches on campuses across California, Yiannopoulos has repeatedly incited violence. He has encouraged his followers to reveal the names of undocumented students, gender-transitioning students and other vulnerable populations. His event at Cal State Fullerton is advertised with the slogan, “Trigger or Treat.” This is an attempt to intimidate using outdated, obnoxious, hateful and disproved ideas. The Humanities and Social Sciences Inter-Club Council and two students have already been ridiculed on Yiannopoulos’ Facebook page. Muslim, feminist, undocumented, trans and other vulnerable students have told some of us that they do not feel safe attending class that day, so many of us have planned online activities that these threatened students can complete in lieu of classes.

Because of concerns about safety, the CSUF Children’s Center will close at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 31 instead of its usual 7 p.m. This will affect the classes of many students and faculty who rely on the Children’s Center for child care. The Titan Student Union is also closing its food court that afternoon and evening, something that will affect students who rely on the food court to eat. We appreciate these steps for safety, and we see that they indicate that classes and classroom activities will be disrupted.

It would be useful to know how much CSUF or other groups are spending on additional police presence and safety measures. Given our tight budgets, what educational activities will suffer as a result of keeping the campus and community safe during the “Troll Academy?” The administration has not yet revealed how much “Troll Academy” will cost CSUF, but transparency is necessary for a “marketplace of ideas” to function.

Puri wrote that “the First Amendment compels us to allow student groups to host speakers of their choice.” It seems to us that Yiannopoulos’ speech crosses the line between protected free speech and less protected speech that incites violence. The First Amendment allows for every citizen to speak civilly, but does not compel us to provide a platform for that speech.

Puri describes CSUF as a campus “surrounded by and challenged by a true marketplace of ideas,” repeating the phrase “marketplace of ideas” twice. We are troubled by this neoliberal language. CSUF is not an economic business marketplace. It is a learning community that must remain committed to upholding the shared principles necessary to support intellectual development. We know from history that, when thoughtful people stay silent, less thoughtful people take over.

If we are to remain unaffected, pretending that Yiannopoulos’ menace to our community principles is really just another idea on a market shelf, we risk abandoning our students, leaving them on their own to navigate this contrived and false market. We also potentially send the message that ideas don’t matter anyway. This is contrary to the founding principles and traditions of higher education. In dangerous times such as these, ideas are exactly what matter.

We hope CSUF will reconsider supporting Yiannopoulos’ appearance on campus.

The students, staff and faculty who have worked hard to organize a Unity Block Party truly hope for a peaceful, civil and respectful day, but we do not accept the lie that Yiannopoulos’ presence will not affect classes or classroom activity.

Faculty are invited to attend the student-led Unity Block Party in full academic regalia, gathering in front of the Humanities and Social Sciences building at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 31, to show our academic commitment to the positive, inclusive and peaceful message of the Unity Block Party.

 

Sincerely,

Elaine Lewinnek, American studies

Mohammad Abdel Haq, sociology

Shelly Arsneault, political science

Christina Barbieri, American studies

Iris Blandon-Gitlin, psychology

Gulhan Bourget, mathematics

Jon Bruschke, human communication studies

Christina Ceisel, communications

Khemara Has, psychology

Brady Heiner, philosophy

Ariella Horwitz, American studies

Andrew Howat, philosophy

Sara Fingal, American studies

Karyl Ketchum, women and gender studies

Carrie Lane, American studies

Gloria Monti, cinema and television arts

Jessie Peissig, psychology

Arlene Ring, American studies

Sharon Sekhon, American studies

Mark Stohs, finance

Jen Thompson, history

Lisa Weisman-Davlantes, psychology

Anthony Alvarez, sociology

Andrea Patterson, liberal studies

Erika M. Thomas, human communication studies

Jessie Peissig, psychology

Alexandro Jose Gradilla, Chicana/o studies

Hunter Hargraves, cinema and television arts

Patrick Covert-Ortiz, American studies

Sora Tanjasiri, health science

Dana Collins, sociology

Karen Stocker, anthropology

Yuying Tsong, human services

Lucia Alcala, psychology

Carl Wendt, anthropology

Barbra Erickson, anthropology

Eriko Self, psychology

William W. Haddad, history

Inez Gonzalez – communications

Craig Baker, psychology

Amanda Perry, psychology

Satoko Kakihara, modern languages and literatures

Mindy Mechanic, psychology

Benikia Kressler, special education

Nadia Alvarez, psychology

Michael Baker, psychology

Pam Fiber-Ostrow, political science

Estela Zarate, education

Lana Dalley, English, comparative literature and linguistics

Olga Mejia, counseling

Eric Estuar Reyes, Asian-American studies

Sapna Chopra, counseling

Jim Ruby, human services

Karen Stocker, anthropology

Yuying Tsong, human services

Rosie Ordonez, literacy and reading education

Susan Sy, psychology

Aitana Guia, history

Pablo Jasis, elementary and bilingual education

Ian Roberson, psychology

Ana Linda Arellano Nez, Chicana/o studies

Gabriela Nunez, Chicana/o studies

Susie Woo, American studies

Mia Sevier, human services

Kyle Smith, psychology

Mei-Ling Malone, African-American studies

Jennifer Trevitt, Psychology

Sharon Chappell, elementary and bilingual education

Michelle Barr, kinesiology

Barbara Cherry, psychology

Jose Luis Serrano Najera, Chicana/o studies

David Gerkens, psychology

Eliza Noh, Asian-American studies

And several adjunct faculty who wish to remain anonymous.

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