Pomona's ASPC has an opportunity to showcase its purported political diversity by bringing former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to campus. As The Student Life points out, his visit to the campus is fraught with difficulties. Putting aside that various human rights groups contend Gonzales's views of the Geneva Convention are less than consistent with their own entrenched positions, he should come to speak. Indeed, because the anti-Gitmo position is so mainstream on American college campuses, that is exactly why he should come to give Pomona students a view that they have seldom heard before.
Unfortunately, Kelly Schwartz '10, who serves as ASPC Communications Commisioner and Chair of the Speakers' Committee, wants to put the issue to a vote -- or more directly, a survey.
“We are more than likely going to survey students to see if they want him to come,” said Schwartz. “It is in no way a definite decision.”That Pomona students feel the need to use surveys and popular demand as a means of keeping a former Attorney General from their campus testifies to the lack of balance present at Pomona. No speaker should be subject to a campus wide vote because a simple majority disagrees with him or her. Conservative students, far in the minority at Pomona, do not ask to censor the multitude of liberal speakers at Pomona and nor should they. Indeed as a fellow conservative and Claremont McKenna student, I disagree vehemently with Gonzales's views of affirmative action, but I don't believe that I should have the right to veto his prospective speech at Pomona.
Indeed Pomona should try to bring only the most thought provoking speakers. By worrying about perceived slights, Pomona does us all a disservice by thinking that our consciences are too fragile, that our views are too weak to not be directly challenged. Taken to its logical conclusion, we're left with boring speakers that neither inform, nor challenge us.
Gonzales, born to a poor family in Texas, put himself through college and U.S. Air Force Academy. He had little of the comforts we all enjoy and still worked his way up into government. Regardless of your politics, you can empathize with his story-- the story of the American dream.
Encourage Pomona's ASPC to bring Gonzales. Encourage Pomona to embrace its commitment to ideological and political diversity.