If you're like me and worry about the illiberality of de facto or de jure speech codes and the seemingly frequent mau mauing of campus conservatives, you simply must read Cathy Young's piece in Reason about the disruption of a talk put on by the Campus Republicans at UMass Amherst. Careful readers of this blog will note that Don Feder, the author and intellectual who was shouted down made reference to the banning of Kyle Kinneberg CMC'09 and David Daleiden CMC'11 in a post-UMass Amherst piece.
The situation has particular emotional salience to me as my mother is an alumna of UMass Amherst, my uncle graduated from its medical school, and my brother will soon be attending its engineering school in the Fall. (My mother did not spend the full four years there, as she went to college at Dickinson and Tel A Viv University.)
In any event, the reason I mention it that Pitzer College is to Jim Gilchrist Monday evening what the Leftists at UMass Amherst were to Don Feder. Read on if you are interested. Is it true that Pitzer College offers extra credit to students who show up for protests? Why haven't I heard about this before? Here is the article from the Claremont Courier:
Gilchrist brings strong views on illegal immigration
Controversial leader of the Minuteman Project Jim Gilchrist spoke about illegal immigration and tax reform in an address before the Mountain View Republican Club on Monday evening.
Mr. Gilchrist spoke about the problems associated with illegal immigration and cited figures to show its impact on the current budget crisis in California and across the nation.
He said that about 30 million people are living in the United States illegally. He believes that about $27 billion of California's $42 billion budget deficit is a direct result of illegal immigrants.
Mr. Gilchrist was highly critical of business owners who employ illegal immigrants rather legal residents of the country, calling them "21st Century slave traders." He also criticized the government for failing to enforce the laws.
"It's all about the rule of law," he said. "It's all about maintaining a healthy middle class productive society. It's all about preserving a civilized society."
He urged members to write and make phone calls to elected officials to ensure the illegal immigration debate remains a pressing issue. He also listed some politicians and candidates to vote in office who will take a strong stance against illegal immigration.
His goal is to get the government to triple the budget of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which would help stem the "tsunami of illegal aliens flooding our country."
"We needs to enforce the law. It's as simple as that," he said. "Either we are a nation of laws or we are not. If we are not going to enforce the immigration laws, what's next?"
The speech was originally scheduled at Italian restaurant Buca Di Beppo but the threat of protests and negative publicity led to a last minute decision by the restaurant's corporate office to cancel. The Mountain View Republican Club was forced to relocate the speech to Hotel Claremont, causing members to complain about the protesters.
"Buca[Di Beppo] felt the political pressure from the colleges for giving extra credit to any student who would show up here and protest," said Donna Lowe, co-chair of programing for Mountain View. "... This is an infringement of our first amendment rights of freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and freedom of the press."
A group of about 40 protesters led by Pitzer College Professor Jose Calderon gathered outside to voice their objection to Mr. Gilchrist's appearance. In his address, Mr. Gilchrist criticized the protesters and called Dr. Calderon "as dumb as they come."
"On the left, you've got the Charlie Manson cultist mentalities; people who will kill you," Mr. Gilchrist said. "They will murder you if they think they can get away with it, to get their way. They are very uneducated. They're downright stupid, like most of these students who are out here. You can not carry out an intelligent conversation with them. And they're hailing themselves from the Claremont Colleges, give me a break."
After his address, Mr. Gilchrist fielded questions from the audience. Two students who were protesting before the address asked a series of questions, causing Mr. Gilchrist and some audience members to lash out.
Pomona College student Nathaniel Spielberg said that he was disheartened that Mr. Gilchrist "attempted to shout us down after complaining about a lack of willingness on our part to engage in civilized discourse and open dialogue."
After the address ended, the tension carried on as some of the Mountain View members clashed with students outside. They debated over the topics discussed during Mr. Gilchrist's address, but at times the converging views escalated into personal attacks.
The Mountain View Republican Club is hosting a series of speakers on the topic of illegal immigration over the next few months. Members come from 7 local cities including Claremont, LaVerne, Chino, Ontario, Pomona, San Dimas and Upland.
The Minuteman Project is an activist organization started in 2005 by private citizens to monitor the US-Mexican border for illegal immigration. Mr. Gilchrist has been accused by critics of espousing violent rhetoric and promoting racism against illegal immigrants.