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OPINION: Students should not stand for white supremacy

white-supremacy
Mary Ann Vagnerova | The Daily Wildcat

An illustration of students protesting against racism by Mary Ann Vagnerova. 

Jared Taylor headlined a speaking event hosted by College Republicans United at Arizona State University Sept. 2. Taylor is the founder of The New Century Foundation, which is most notably known for the American Renaissance – an online opinions journal that has continuously made arguments in support of white nationalism and white superiority. His presence on campus is appalling and should be condemned by ASU. Yet, unfortunately, it was allowed. Since ASU took no action in stopping this event, it should at the very least prompt them to take urgent action in creating a more inclusive campus. 

Taylor is a direct and imminent threat to students of color on campus. It was reported by Northeast Valley News that some students who were attempting to get into the event “were denied access because of the way they looked or dressed.” This is not surprising at all since the speaking event was titled, “If We Do Nothing: A Defense of White Identity Politics." 

The spreading of white supremacist ideology created by events like this supports an environment that dehumanizes and presents a severe threat to students of color on the campus. Mental and physical health and overall quality of life diminish for students of color who experience discrimination. NBC News recently reported that data taken from a 10-year survey, “found that people ages 18 to 28 who experienced consistent short- or long-term discrimination are 25 percent more likely to experience psychological distress, to be diagnosed with a mental illness or to report excessive drug use.” 

ASU is responsible for keeping students safe on campus, both from physical harm and mental distress caused by events such as this one. They have guaranteed this responsibility by stating that, “it is our job to ensure the safety and well-being of your student,” on their public Educational Outreach and Student Services website. Yet, their actions prove otherwise when they allow people like Taylor to create an atmosphere of harm on campus. 

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Although many in defense of Taylor, including ASU, have cited the First Amendment as a reason for allowing this speaking event to happen, it does not take away the damage this has caused to the student body. A First Amendment statement was given from the Black African Coalition at ASU: “The Black African Coalition respects the First Amendment, but we do not align ourselves when that amendment is used to belittle the heritage of ourselves and our peers.” 

On its admission website, ASU insists that it will, “value and welcome students no matter their ethnicity, the religion they practice (or don’t practice), the language their family speaks, who they love, or the type of clothes they wear.” The student body and several student organizations are rightfully calling for ASU to uphold its self-proclaimed values of diversity and inclusion and go against inappropriate uses of the First Amendment. 

A student, Yeison Bautista Pejay, who attended an ASU protest in Tempe on Sep. 2  against Taylor’s speaking event told to me over the phone, that “[i]t may not seem like a big deal now, but every time people like [Taylor] and College Republicans United are tolerated, they lead to nastier infestations of violence against people of color. ASU has the power to stop history from repeating.” 

Along with negative student sentiment against the speaking of Taylor, over 25 student organizations affiliated with ASU spoke out in opposition to Taylor’s event, including the group College Republicans at ASU. Pejay concluded with a belief many seem to share, and many need to realize, saying that he is, “again disappointed in how ASU has taken one of its principles it prides itself on, ‘accepting everyone’, and has used it as an excuse to let something like this happen.”

Accountability at all universities is of utmost importance, and it is up to the student body to hold their university to its standards. Making sure public universities protect students and families from exploitation and abuse and provide all students with a high-quality education should be the primary goal of ASU and universities across Arizona. It is important that ASU takes action on this immediately and release an apology to all students of color on campus and guarantee that white supremacy will not be tolerated or allowed on campus again. 


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Sophia is a sophomore majoring in family studies & human development and global studies. She loves to write pieces concerning politics that affect the Tucson and UA community.


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