Universities need to stop hate groups on campus

BTL Staff
By | 2006-12-07T09:00:00-04:00 December 7th, 2006|Uncategorized|

Our country was built upon the concept of free speech.
And universities provide space for discourse, debate and self-exploration.
But when public dollars are involved, specifically for students groups, there are limits to the kinds of speech tolerated.
Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative student group, has pushed the boundaries of free speech. After protesting a Lansing human rights ordinance with “straight power” signs, and sponsoring a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day,” YAF is now under investigation as a hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a national watchdog group.
The three schools where YAF claims to have chapters – University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Olivet College – should immediately revoke the student group status. Olivet is currently processing YAF’s student group application, and the school should take this opportunity to say no to hate. It’s also time for the other universities, especially administrators who downplayed the group at MSU, to step up to the plate.
YAF leader Kyle Bristow openly spews his hate, and no, this man does not discriminate: he hates everything. Gays. Immigrants. Blacks.
Unless you are part of the privileged white middle class (or better) Bristow and his thugs want nothing to do with you. In fact, he wants to chase you off campus, like on “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day.”
Yes, free speech is essential in this country. But when students are using university money to say homosexuality rightfully kills more than cigarettes, abortion causes men to abuse women and minority student groups shouldn’t exist, it’s time to cut the purse strings.
Universities should foster an environment built upon open opinions, but when these views spread careless mistreatment and false remarks targeted at specific groups, someone has to step in. How can a university expect minorities to feel safe when groups hate on them? And, more importantly, how can universities expect active enrollment when they allow minority bashing on campus?
Hate doesn’t belong anywhere. But least of all at a university who has a responsibility to a paying diversified student body: to make them comfortable.
And as word gets out about the group, we hope more will follow in the footsteps of Joanna Varnavas, who resigned after realizing who she was hurting: her own friends. But until more YAF group members step down, these universities will be fostering the kind of hate we’ve longed to erase. These hatemongers still have the right to spew their rage, but not with school dollars.
So go ahead, YAF. Have a hate bake sale to fund your racist rallies.
Fortunately, you may have trouble selling your wares.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.