The ASLC then voted to fund $1100 for the event, but that amount was reduced to $800 in a re-vote after an assembled audience shouted, “You are sponsoring Islamophobia and racism on this campus,” and “Who on this board is representing the Muslim community?” In a June 7 email to UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang, FIRE noted the discrepancy. “College Republicans would have been allocated $1,100 rather than $800 were it not for the viewpoint discrimination by the Associated Students Legislative Council. FIRE again asks UCSB to intervene to ensure that, at the least, the College Republicans are allocated the $300 that was denied due to hostility to Horowitz and his protected expression.” On June 21, campus council Nancy Greenan Hamill wrote back to FIRE, assuring them that the College Republicans had been allocated the entire $1100. But records kept by the CR showed they’d received nothing.
For months, UCSB administrators provided FIRE and CR President Steven Begakis with bogus information, until UCSB assistant dean of students Katya Armistead produced this document, noting that UCSB deposited $1800 into the RCs’ account. “The months it took for UCSB administrators to get their own story straight just compounded the problem caused by the student government,” said FIRE vice president of programs Adam Kissel. “UCSB ultimately did the right thing by making the CRs whole, but it must now take steps to ensure that its student government never again violates the First Amendment rights of a student organization.”
Whether or not they do so remains to be seen. Ronald D. Rotunda, distinguished professor of jurisprudence at Chapman University, has his doubts. “They made it pretty clear–that is, the people protesting the speaker said, ‘We don’t like him because he’s conservative and we feel threatened by it,’” said Rotunda. “That’s them objecting to the speaker because of his view. This is becoming quite common throughout academia to basically discourage, in some cases, threaten, or make it more difficult for views that are not politically correct,” he added.
Which is precisely why it’s important to challenge such pervasive nonsense. FIRE, the Freedom Center and the College Republicans deserves enormous credit for their tireless efforts on that behalf. “Student organizations that are discriminated against now know that FIRE will expose such injustices to the public,” Kissel warned. “All student organizations deserve a level playing field.”
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