Front Page Magazine reported in early November that the SFSU College Republicans were verbally and physically attacked and threatened by four pro-Palestinian students and their radical allies on campus. It was the day before the presidential election, and the Republican club was tabling in the quad, handing out literature in support of President Bush.
As confirmed by police reports, the angry mob that gathered that day became so threatening that a campus police officer feared for his own safety. Rather than try to control the crowd, the officer asked the Republicans to evacuate the area.
Two days later, after Bush’s reelection victory, an even greater attack occurred. As many as 300 students gathered at the College Republicans’ table, calling for the club’s removal from campus. Republican students were menaced once again and threatened with physical harm.
By November 4, flyers that adorned the campus accused the conservative students of being “racists” and “bigots.” Members of the International Socialist Organization -- a group that has advocated the violent overthrow of the US government -- and Students Against War began distributing flyers with the bold headline “Racists Off Our Campus” that accused the College Republicans of “racism and bigotry toward Arab women.” Throughout November, the ranks of the radical groups swelled as more flyers were printed and endorsed by Students Against War, La Raza, the International Socialist Organization, the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition and even The Campaign to End the Death Penalty -- all accusing the College Republicans, victims of a wholly unprovoked attack, of racism.
SFSU’s president, Robert Corrigan, chose to affix blame equally on both sides instead of reading the reports of his own campus police. In doing so, Corrigan lent a measure of legitimacy to the attackers. A Republican who was assaulted now faces disciplinary hearings on campus simply for being the victim.
The College Republicans made an early mistake. They sought to cooperate with the University, hoping to end the controversy. Instead, the smears and verbal assaults have intensified for weeks. The University put out a press release suggesting this event was a minor quarrel between a few students, but the College Republicans have been forced to endure numerous bigoted statements. The words of campus protestors represent the mindset of those who attacked the students on campus and illustrate what’s wrong with San Francisco State University, where freedom of speech is withheld from conservative and pro-American students. At the request of the University these comments were not released to the press earlier. Now, here they are:
During one demonstration against the College Republicans, a demonstrator yelled, “All American soldiers are faggots who only join the military so they can rape Arab men!” (It was an oddly anti-gay statement from an individual who declared himself a champion of tolerance and human rights).
The day after the presidential election, an Arab student declared during a demonstration, “You people always want to play the victims. You cry about what Hitler did to you, but what you do to the Palestinians is worse” (“You people” refers to the Jews, though not one of the SFSU College Republicans is Jewish).
A pacifist shouted, “One day, the Arabs of the world will unite, and this [Palestinian] flag will fly high, and you’ll be dead!”
“You’re a f---ing redneck!” and “You’re the KKK!” were staples.
To one of our female club members: “You’re a f---ing dyke!” (Homophobia again from one of the self-declared non-racists, a woman named Nala Gardizi).
“If you went to the West Bank, they would kill faggots like you!” (Clearly, they have problems with gays -- though they accuse Republicans of homophobia.)
“You and the Jews want to kill Palestinian babies!” This comment recalls the “baby meat” poster distributed on the SFSU campus two years ago by the General Union of Palestinian Students. Even President Corrigan felt that one was too much and ordered the posters removed.
The most memorable one to us, heard between chants of “Allahu Akbar,” came from a male student who said, “What are you going to do when the police aren't here to protect you and there are more of us than there are of you? I'm going to get you, m----r f----r!!!” The female Republican student received similar threats from the woman who called her a lesbian.
Kids, these pacifists and human rights activists can be dangerous.
And if such gems weren’t enough to help the Corrigan administration discover which side had caused trouble on campus, there was more where they came from. The College Republicans tried to calm the dispute by holding a “Free Speech Rally” in Malcolm X quad on November 30. There, both sides could reaffirm their views on everyone’s right to free speech. Or so the Republicans thought. On the day of the rally, the Palestinian group failed to attend, and white members of Students Against War told a Filipino Republican that he was “a disgrace to [his] race.”
Can you imagine anything more annoying than white “liberals” who believe it is their place to tell members of minority groups what to think?
Who are the real bigots here? The College Republicans did not utter one racial slur to the campus leftists trying to incite violence with slanderous and insulting rhetoric. Weeks later, though completely contradicted by campus police reports, the protestors claimed that epithets such as “sand n----r” and “camel jockey” were hurled at them. The same false accusations were leveled against another SFSU student, Tatiana Menaker, by the same groups. The University punished Tatiana as a result, just as they are punishing a Republican who defended himself when fellow club members were attacked. Tatiana was eventually exonerated when evidence showed that she was not even present at the time when she supposedly made hateful remarks.
One of the original attackers was videotaped at a press conference on campus where he claimed that the Republicans made racist remarks. Chris Finarelli, vice president of the College Republicans, attended the press conference and pointed out that no such statements appeared in police reports or videotaped footage. The response was, “Of course not. The police lied because they are on the administration’s side.”
A visit to the International Socialist Organization website reveals the extent of leftist paranoia on campus. The ISO website states, “We oppose racism in all its forms. We support the right to armed self-defense in the face of racist attacks.” An astute observer might glean that members of the ISO were attempting to build their case for violence against fellow students whose only crime was standing behind a table with a “Bush-Cheney 2004” sign in front of it. Is this a harbinger of chaos to come on American campuses?
And after all, why shouldn’t students think it’s within their rights to threaten and intimidate Republican students? Professors often remind them about the stupid President and his evil supporters. A student cannot enjoy lunch in the quad without a mural of Malcolm X leering down at him, complete with the inscription, “By any means necessary.” SFSU students are a stone’s throw from such calls to revolutionary violence harkening back to the 1960s and ‘70s.
Even the faculty, including Assistant Professor Jessica Fields, endorses radical students’ behavior by signing a petition to remove the College Republicans from campus. The message is clear: Republicans are evil, and action against them is justified as long as you use cloak it in terms of anti-racism and anti-bigotry.
This problem existed on the SFSU campus long before any of the current College Republicans ever stepped foot on campus. Radical students -- and radical professors -- must learn that free speech does not mean the right to advocate violence against those with different political beliefs.
The College Republicans are committed to creating a safe environment for healthy political discourse. The question is whether President Corrigan’s administration is committed to doing the same. California taxpayers deserve public universities free of violence and intolerance. If they need to be brought into the fray, then so be it.
Derek Wray is president of the San Francisco State University College Republicans. Lee Kaplan is a contributing editor to Front Page Magazine.