#Callout CSU Protests

#Callout CSU Protests

22 September, 2021

By Kevin Lorusso

By now, most will be aware of the rabid woke energy that is permeating college campuses across our country. Unfortunately for me, Colorado State is no different. On Friday, our LGBTQ community held a protest called #CalloutCSU, where they used their right to free speech to peacefully protest against the right of others to express their free speech.

               It all started the week prior when Christian individuals came to speak with students on our campus’ main plaza. This is a tradition at CSU, and usually the students will participate in fairly respectful conversations before moving on to their classes. However, last week a particular individual was more aggressive with students than normal. Speaking candidly against the LGBTQ community, he quickly amassed a large crowd of students who were more than willing to waste their parents’ money to scream at a religious guy. It all culminated in a student snatching a Bible from the man’s hand, slamming it on the ground, and stepping on it. The speaker then pushed the student in an attempt to retrieve his bible, leading to the cops arriving and leading him away in handcuff. As always, the police would rather violate the rights of the individual than deal with a mob.

               Following this, students called on University President Joyce McConnell to condemn the words of the speaker and prevent it from occurring again. Members of the LGBTQ community began organized a social media protest called #CalloutCSU in an effort to bring attention to what they perceive to be a campus wrought with hate, bigotry, and white supremacy. In an unprecedented turn of event, Pres. McConnell responded to the students with an email. In it, she explained that as CSU is public land, they cannot prevent the expression of free speech. Further on, she apologized for the fact that CSU cannot prevent the expression of speech they don’t like, ending by saying “We want to acknowledge that words hurt. The adage that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is simply not true.” Yes ladies and gentleman, the president of a public American university actually said that words are, in fact, violence.

               On Friday at around noon, students began gathering in the university plaza. For their part, it was an entirely peaceful protest. In it, they expressed the issues they had with the campus, like wanting a “task force” established to investigate issues of hate speech and the creation of a “campus buddy system” so trans students can get across campus without being scared. Mind you, no one was actually physically attacked in the lead-up to the protest. From the plaza, they moved to the front of the administration building, colloquially known as “the Oval”. There, they took turns expressing the multitude of ways they have been victimized. While things remained relatively calm throughout, their message was clear: “Speech we don’t like must be banned.”

               The problem should be evident: if words are violence, then responding to violent words with violent action is justified. If words are violence, then violent words should not be covered under the First Amendment. In essence, free speech does not exist. What these college students fail to understand is that when they say “Hate speech is not free speech”, they are failing to recognize that the only reason free speech is necessary is to protect speech that is unpalatable and vitriolic. If free speech only covered nice things or stuff we agree on, it would not have been necessary to codify it in the Bill of Rights. The power to control speech is every totalitarian regime’s wet dream because it allows for the policing of thought and the ostraticization of ideological threats to their power. Our society must have a healthy respect for each other’s opinions, whether we agree with them or not. Otherwise, our social fabric will crumble as those convicted of “wrong speak” are excised form our lives.

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