'San Francisco Chronicle' Reprints UCSB's Lies about Viewpoint Discrimination against David Horowitz Event | The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

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'San Francisco Chronicle' Reprints UCSB's Lies about Viewpoint Discrimination against David Horowitz Event

Reasonable people disagree about a wide variety of things. But sometimes, people just lie or misrepresent the truth. Sadly, a lot of this is happening over at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the lies are making it into the press.

The documentation is quite clear on the following points:

1.  Student government officials completely denied funding for $2,000 for a David Horowitz event sponsored by the College Republicans, because of opposition to his views and expression. Some of the students stood up for free speech, but they lost to those advocating for "inclusivity."

2.  A second group of student government officials voted to hide the evidence by suppressing the minutes of the meeting. (Fortunately, we have the minutes anyway and have posted them.)

3.  This second group of student government officials also voted to allocate $1,100 for the event, but only after airing strong denunciations of Horowitz's views and expression. After the audience erupted in complaints, these student government officials then revisited the question and allocated only $800.

The documentation also is clear on these points:

4.  FIRE brought this viewpoint discrimination to UCSB's attention on May 6 and June 7, 2011.

5.  On June 21, UCSB Campus Counsel Nancy Greenan Hamill replied that the student government had "approved the requested $800 for security and the Office of Student Life covered the additional $300 requested .... Accordingly, the College Republicans have received the full amount of their $1,100 request."

In contrast to Hamill's statement, however, the College Republicans had requested $1,770 that time. And the College Republicans' account showed no $800, $300, or $1,100 deposit. (I doubt that Hamill was the one lying here; she probably just accepted whatever lies and misrepresentations other people fed to her, even though the truth was not hard to find.)

It was not until October 6 of this year that UCSB released a document showing that $1,800 had been deposited in the College Republicans' account from UCSB's After Dark program, split between money from the UCSB Office of Student Life and the student government (the "Associated Students" or AS). That's when FIRE finally could confirm the truth, which we announced in a nationwide press release on October 10. UCSB had stepped up to its responsibilities in the wake of the viewpoint discrimination by the AS.

Journalist Bob Egelko then wrote about the case in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 13. Egelko made the error of calling FIRE a "conservative" group, which I immediately pointed out to him. Disappointingly, this false characterization has not been corrected.

Egelko got the rest of the facts right. But today the Chronicle ran a curious "correction" that includes at least two lies, based on zero evidence. The entire "correction" reads:

College Republicans reimbursed; Oct. 13; C5
A story about an appearance by conservative author David Horowitz at UC Santa Barbara misstated the student council's actions on his $1,800 fee. The council approved all the funding it was authorized to provide, $800, and did not withhold any funding because of the speaker's viewpoint, as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education alleged. Katya Armistead, assistant dean of students, said the university administration approved on its own the remaining $1,000 from a school security fund.

The first lie here is that the SA was authorized to approve only $800. This idea has no basis in reality. Before the audience eruption, in fact, the SA had already approved $1,100, fully believing it was authorized to do so. Also, the complete denial of funds the first time around is nowhere to be seen in this "correction."

The second lie is that the SA "did not withhold any funding because of the speaker's viewpoint." That's not just a small lie but a really huge lie, apparently promulgated by Katya Armistead. If you don't believe me, read the minutes of both meetings for yourself.

And we should name names once again:

(1) Alfredo Del Cid, who voted against the $1,100 allocation, stated:

Diversity, speech, and ideas I appreciate and like the different angles, and when speakers with different views come I think it's constructive, but I believe the statements should be founded in fact and there's a difference between that and completely outlandish statements. Referencing David Horowitz's article on how the gay AIDS epidemic stems from the gay pride movement. If there were intelligent discourse with David, then great, but this is not the case. He will go on a rant about people that he doesn't agree with or like.

Del Cid also alleged that Horowitz had "call[ed] student organizations ‘terrorist cells.'"

(2) A student named Jared (surname unavailable), who voted against the $1,100 allocation as a proxy for Danielle Stevens, stated:

I didn't hear concrete evidence on anything when I went to the event 3 years ago; all I heard was slander.

(3) Fabian Gallardo, who voted against the $1,100 allocation, stated:

My only reservation with bringing Horowitz is that it would be an educational event. David belittles students and professors and will only anger folks.

(4) Tiffany Mayville, who voted against the $1,100 allocation, asked the College Republicans representative:

Do you think the idea of free speech jeopardizes the safety of students on the campus?

She later asked:

Couldn't you have chosen someone who better represents your minority group in a constructive manner?

She also stated:

Not funding their event is not making them feel like they are not included in this campus. Being a political[] minority is WAY different than a structural minority. I want people to represent their beliefs and we shouldn't have to have security to protect the event. We should create a constructive dialogue and break down the structure of these issues and not break down these issues. I understand the weight words have and look at what are we setting a precedent for again. The threat of being sued is very disempowering and it feels like we're being told how to vote because of legalities. We have the duty to represent students and not the Regents.

(5) Danielle Mayorga, who voted against the $1,100 allocation, stated:

I don't want to fund security because I've been there and the police do not protect the students' right to peacefully and protest and assemble.

If the police don't protect that right, that is a problem, but in the context of the Horowitz speech, Mayorga seems to be arguing that the police should not do what is necessary to allow David Horowitz's speech to continue if students decided to unlawfully disrupt it. You don't have a right to "protest and assemble" in a substantially disruptive way in the middle of a venue that is being used for someone else's speech.

These student government members acted against their moral and legal responsibility to uphold First Amendment rights on campus when they engaged in viewpoint discrimination. And now the university itself has blatantly lied about it and has hoodwinked the San Francisco Chronicle. Bob Egelko had it right the first time.

Next in line for some truth talk is UCSB's own Daily Nexus. Stay tuned.

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