In anticipation of Charlie Kirk’s speaking engagement at UC Davis at the invitation of the Turning Point USA’s student group, Chancellor Gary S. May released a remarkable video, expressing the hope that no one would show up for the event. Yes, he said, “we can work together to neutralize and negate their influence” – and we do this in the name of free speech. Talk about doublespeak!
Chancellor May made clear that he personally considered Kirk’s views to be “loathsome and hurtful.” And he referred to Kirk as “a well-known proponent of misinformation and hate and who has advocated for violence against transgender individuals.” (Kirk noted in a response video that he might sue May for the trans-related comment.)
For his part, May stated that he was standing with the university’s trans and non-binary community members and opposing Kirk’s “hateful and divisive message.”
He explained that he could not stop the event from taking place, based on the law (it’s clear he would have stopped it otherwise). But, he noted, if there was a “clear and present danger to the campus,” the event could be stopped.
Accordingly, he said, “while I abhor the inflammatory speech of this speaker,” school policy permitted him to speak.
Of course, the event itself was peaceful on the part of TPUSA and Kirk. But it was not peaceful on the part of the Antifa protestors, who violently stormed the building where it was being held, even smashing through some of the glass doors.
It appears the Chancellor’s concerns about potential violence were pointed in the wrong direction.
But May’s perspective was clear:
“we are motivated by a desire to do what is best for our diverse community and for society as a whole, but as a public university dedicated to the pursuit of deeper understanding through the free, open and civil exchange of ideas. We must also support an environment conducive to the discussion of widely varying ideas and points of view. We are committed to the First Amendment and we are required to uphold it.” (Emphasis added.)
And then this:
“We have the ability to critically assess environments we are creating for ourselves and others, and to work together to foster a culture of learning that is as inclusive and respectful as it is passionate and inspired.” (Emphasis added.)
Notice those two words that I emphasized: diverse and inclusive.
It is in the name of being a diverse and inclusive community that Kirk and his ilk should be excluded. It is in the name of diversity and inclusion that opposing views should not be tolerated or welcomed. Did I say something before about doublespeak?
Welcome to the contemporary lexicon, where the meaning of words is stood on its head.
Under the heading of “Diversity and inclusion,” the UC Davis website states: “Respecting difference, striving for equity. The way we see it, the world is just too big to be bound by narrow perspectives. In an intellectually vibrant place like UC Davis, creativity connects ideas from the obvious to the outlandish. The most comprehensive solutions come from the most diverse minds.”
Put another way, we warmly welcome all points of view that challenge the narrow bigotry of the right. As for those hateful, bigoted, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, racist voices, they have no place on our campus. We are diverse! We are inclusive!
Does no one see the irony and the contradiction?
I have no doubt that hostile, narrow-minded, bigoted, intolerant views against conservatism (and/or conservative Christianity) are expressed at UC Davis on a regular basis. And I have no doubt that students who hold to these conservative and/or biblically-based views feel isolated and marginalized.
Once again, diversity and tolerance seem to be one-way streets, and this should be recognized whether or not one likes or dislikes Kirk and TPUSA.
But this, of course, is nothing new. I think back to Caribou Coffee in 2008 explaining to me why they were sponsoring a gay pride event in our city but would not sponsor a Christian conservative event. It’s because they were inclusive!
Still, that was a private company, not a university. And the letter I received was written by the Director of Brand Marketing, a far cry from a university chancellor.
All the more, then, is it striking when such a high-ranking, highly-awarded academic like Chancellor May releases such an intolerant, exclusivist, and truly chilling video, urging the campus community to work with him to “neutralize and negate” the impact of the event.
Indeed, UC Davis tells us that, “Throughout his career, [May] has championed diversity and mentorship in both higher education and the workplace.” It appears that “diversity” only goes so far.
Of course, the obvious response is, “What if it was a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan? What if it was a meeting of neo-Nazis? Wouldn’t you applaud Chancellor May for putting out a video like this?”
But that’s the whole point. After years of demonizing conservative and Christian views in America, they (or, we) are now put in the same category as these other vile groups. We should, therefore, be excluded in the very name of diversity and inclusion.
The Orwellian nightmare continues to unfold in front of our eyes.