IS THE INTOLERANT LEFT RUINING IT FOR THE REST OF UCF LIBERALS?
By Sean Hartman
If you are a politically active student at UCF, you may very well be involved in one of the Facebook political pages. These pages are where students engage in (mostly) civil discourse between students on both sides of the aisle. Save for a select few within these political circles (you know you who are), these students treat each other with civility and class.
In fact, many of these students are not only cordial to each other online, but friends with each other offline. Liberal and conservative students often hang out with each other, go to parties together, study together, even start intimate relationships together. Heck, my closest friend at UCF labels herself a communist!
Yet the voices of sane, liberal students may soon be drowned out by angry, loud-mouthed far left activists, and that minority may very well define the majority, and even worse, define the entire UCF campus.
Now I want to be clear, as a Republican at UCF, I can tell you the administration has been far more respectful towards conservatives than most other institutions we see on the news.
And as I have described before, the student body in general tends to be more respectful of the free exchange of ideas.
But more and more, there seems to be a rise of radical left-wing activists who seem to be spreading hateful rhetoric and using extremist tactics to scare or censor students.
But Lanza is not the first example of radical leftists causing chaos for the college.
Last semester, UCF made national headlines for the “BASH THE FASH” event held by Knights For Socialism. They even beat effigies of President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and advisor Steve Bannon.
Knights For Socialism, a radical socialist group that falsely tries to claim it’s associated with UCF (KFS is not a UCF Registered Student Organization), planned an event on campus to teach their members how to defend themselves against “fascists”, which many members had stated included anyone who supported President Trump.
The event also prohibited Republicans from going, though a few went after public pressure.
Let me be clear about what I am saying here. An organization called Knights For Socialism was essentially teaching their members to ASSAULT Trump supporters. This during the time when peaceful Trump supporters were being assaulted, beaten down by the left-wing terrorist group ANTIFA, which many KFS members showed solidarity with.
In fact, KFS’s de facto leader, Dylan Tyer, has harassed and threatened myself, other conservative students, and even other members of this newspaper constantly. Rumor has it that he was so radical that KFS kicked him out (though I cannot confirm this).
And though these two incidents are major, there have been several minor incidents of radical leftists censoring conservative ideas.
A personal example is the time when I tried to engage in a civil discourse with activist from the UCF chapter of NOW, the National Organization for Women. The discussion was on equal pay, and the “women make 77 cents a man does” narrative.
Now I consider myself pro-feminist. I support the concepts behind equal pay for equal work, because I believe in equality under the law not only coexists with liberty, it is a requisite of it.
But the fact is, the 77 cents narrative, though technically true, is a purposeful misconception that many feminists still use to promote their agenda.
The 77 cents statistic takes into account the average woman and average man, and in that regard, yes, the average woman makes 77% of a man does. But the statistic alone is misleading, because stating it does not show the multiple factors that cause that statistic, chief among them the career choices women statistically choose in life.
If one looks at the actual “equal pay for equal work” statistic, it is closer to 99.5%.
Now I argued even that number was too high. I argued that a woman should make equal to a man for the same labor. All things that feminists would agree with, logically, right?
Yet despite this, I was referred to as a sexist, and that I was propping up a misogynistic agenda. The discourse was silenced by cries of bigotry, not reason.
This wasn’t the only censorship by feminist activists. When pro-life protesters took over the “Free Speech” Lawn, putting up posters of dead fetuses, pro-choice activists did their best to put up large signs in front of the posters to block out their narrative.
Now their reason was sound. The images of fetuses could be seen as damaging or triggering. And to me, yes, they are painful. But truth is painful, and the world does not have safe spaces. The pro-life activists have to jump hurdles to even be at that lawn, and yet, because of their disagreements with them, pro-choice activists seek to silence them.
Civil discourse is key in politics, and UCF agrees, putting in their Code of Conduct a clause supporting the free exchange of ideas, and allowing for broad exceptions to harassment rules for the legal exchange of ideas, even if they are offensive.
It is why students like Grayson Lanza are able to get on a microphone and attack Trump supporters. And why pro-life activists can show images of dead fetuses.
And I did not even get into the multiple silent protests that the Democrats put out protecting illegal immigration or protesting President Trump, or the petition circulating to make UCF a “sanctuary campus.” The reason was not because I oppose them—I do—but because at least these activists engage in civil, PEACEFUL protest, not hateful rhetoric and divisiveness.
I want to be absolutely clear here…compared to many of the colleges you see on campus, UCF is a safe place for people regardless of their politics. Liberals and conservatives are cordial here, and the free exchange of ideas is welcome.
My fear is that the Lanzas of the school ruin that reputation.
Sean Hartman is a Junior at the University of Central Florida, studying Political Science. He previously served as the Vice President of the Southwest Florida Young Republicans and as Assistant Regional Coordinator to the Ted Cruz For President campaign. He described himself as a “Professional Political Nuisance” and labels his political views as “classical liberalism”.