THE SANTA CLARA
February 9, 2017
For anyone who would argue the Trump effect is not real, I would urge them to take a look at our very own Santa Clara University. The hateful rhetoric Donald Trump continually uses has inspired others to act and speak in equally hateful ways. Trump’s behavior has added fuel to the fire of intolerance that laid dormant before.
Just last quarter, a swastika and LGBTQ slurs were written on the elevator and wall of Casa Italiana Residence Hall respectively. Around the same time, the silhouettes meant to memorialize the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students were vandalized.
These are not the first incidents to occur at Santa Clara, but these particular acts of vandalism were not only inflammatory, but direct attacks on the humanity of various marginalized groups.
As hurt and angry as many were, nothing seemed to change. Some students didn’t even hear about the events and some simply didn’t seem to mind them. Life at “Claradise” continued as usual.
I was reminded that I am not safe anywhere, not even on my college campus. This idea was just recently reinforced when white supremacist posters and stickers were hung up around campus, in places such as the Women and Gender and Ethnic Studies boards. This was an attack on students of color. It was an attack on me and my humanity. Once again, I had reason to fear my safety and feel unsafe at my university.
When incidents such as this happen, administration typically gets together and an email goes out to the student body. Certain professors and faculty take a deep interest in these issues and do their best to act accordingly. But these conversations are simply talk and do not stop future attacks.
There is no quick and easy way to put an end to these hateful individuals and groups. However, as a community, we cannot stand for this anymore. I will not accept white supremacist groups on my campus, invading my home. This is not a matter of political differences, it is a matter of right and wrong. The vandalism and the presence of white supremacists on this campus is despicable.
Last week, Turning Point USA, a non-partisan, conservative organization presented themselves in front of ASG’s senators in attempt to become a registered student association. While on paper this does not seem dangerous, student leaders quickly learned there was more to this organization and came together to voice their concerns. While Turning Point USA claims to simply be a organization that educates others and fosters dialogue about economic issues, they also say they will promote “American culture” and act as advocates.
As students voiced their concern for such an organization, the subject of freedom of speech arose. Certain individuals claimed not approving Turning Point USA as a registered student organization would censor and limit their freedom of speech. However, one of the main concerns of having such an organization on campus is because of their attempts to limit free speech of professors.
Apparently, these students feel underrepresented and discriminated against because they are conservative. Clearly, they have no understanding of what discrimination is like for members of marginalized communities who feel this way everyday simply because of who they are, not what they believe.
Turning Point USA has already started a program called ‘Professor Watch.’ On this website, college students post pictures and descriptions of professors who’ve shared liberal, left-leaning views. During their presentation, the Santa Clara students stated that they would be using this website. Although Turning Point USA believes in free speech, the group would actively try to limit the free speech of professors on this campus.
The founder of Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, writes for Breitbart News, the same publication that names Milo Yiannopoulos as its senior editor. Yiannopoulos, an alt-right journalist, was banned from Twitter after his racist remarks towards actress Leslie Jones. He has been touring different universities, spreading hate. At the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee displayed the photo and name of a transgender student. He publicly mocked her in front of his audience.
This type of behavior is not only unacceptable, but it does not align with the Jesuit values Santa Clara stands for. In a university that advocates social justice and being “people for others,” we do not have room for an organization aligning itself with Milo Yiannopoulos.
During the senate meeting, as I heard both sides debate this organization, I held on to hope. Once again, I looked around at the courageous individuals around me. They too have been hurting, but they continue to fight. Together, we will continue to unify and show up when it is necessary. As exhausting as it may be, we understand that we have yet to achieve equality.
As the great Angela Davis once said, “I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I’m changing the things I cannot accept.” These are words I attempt to live by every day. At the ASG meeting, I saw that all around me. Students passionately defending what is right, attempting to change the things that we do not accept.
In the case of Turning Point USA, we were successful. They did not gain RSO status. I am proud of this victory, but I understand it is not the end. This is not the last troubling organization that will attempt to enter our university. There still exists the possibility “Identity Evropa” will continue to promote white supremacy on our campus. But when I see the strength of my fellow classmates, I know that we are powerful.
We are capable of fighting for the change we so desperately need and we will continue to do so. But, at the end of the day, we are still young college students. We are vulnerable and we feel pain. It is scary to be a Latina in this country for me at times. My only hope is that in the future, others will not have to experience the disrespect, dehumanization and destruction that many of us continue to face.
Veronica Marquez is a sophomore communication and ethnic studies major.
Articles in the Opinion section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University.