An op-ed by the USC Daily Trojan’s Nathaniel Haas has been one of the more “popular” articles on that publication’s website over the last few days.
In it, Haas argues that the hypocrisy of “some” campus College Republicans “knows no bounds” … because of some commentary from the group’s Facebook page regarding radical Angela Davis’s speech last Monday.
One of these statements said “[Davis] has no place on our campus and should have never been invited to speak” and had an accompanying graphic which read “Shame on the groups responsible for bringing murderer communist Angela Davis to USC tonight.”
These have since been removed from the College Republican Facebook page.
The College Republicans hosted Ann Coulter on campus two years ago, a speaker whose bigotry toward race, the Muslim religion and sexual orientation is well known. Viewed in the most positive light, their statements about Davis are blatantly hypocritical. At worst, they are a gross form of offensive character assassination.
The worst thing about arguing that Davis should not have been invited is that it places disagreement with Davis’ opinion on a higher pedestal than a defense of her First Amendment right to express that opinion. Given their devotion to the Constitution, one would expect the College Boat Shoe Club to be extra-staunch defenders of Davis’ right to free speech, but the only support they gave to those seeking to be heard was to their own members:
“It is important that the voices of those students who do not agree with Davis, and her presence on campus are heard!” another Facebook post read.
Haas goes on to compare the group to the notorious Senator Joseph McCarthy, and highlights the opinion of the former director of the Black Student Assembly, Ama Konadu, who said the campus group’s statement — that “The African-American students in the USC College Republicans are particularly disheartened that Davis has been branded as a leader in the Black community …” — reminded her of the saying “I’m not racist, I have black friends.”
Konadu went to say “Black Republicans are so prideful in the country and systems that have oppressed our people since day one and that continue to do so.”
The College Republicans released a statement on their Facebook page in response to Haas’s column.
The group notes that their main objection was the use of student fees — which every student pays to the university — to compensate Ms. Davis for her appearance:
Mr. Haas furthered his already false argument by calling into question an event held by the USC College Republicans in which Ann Coulter spoke. We would like to point out that this event was paid for in full by our own club, through generous donations, and from grants. At no point did we ask to University Student Government, the Program Board, or any of numerous student assemblies, all of which are funded by USC tuition dollars, to pay for our event. This is in stark contrast to the Angela Davis event, in which the entire student body was forced into paying for her speaking fees.
They also point out that they removed the aforementioned photo (and graphic) of Davis from their Facebook page due to “numerous comments attacking African American members of [the] club.”
“We felt that these comments were distracting from our official statement expressing our displeasure with Davis’s presence on campus, and with the fact that the student body was forced to foot the bill for her speech,” the statement says.