JASON RANTZ

Rantz: After affirmative action bake sale, UW president declares war on free speech

May 6, 2019, 5:54 AM | Updated: 11:01 am
affirmative action...
The situation got a bit tense on UW campus on Friday morning. (KTTH,Jason Rantz)
(KTTH,Jason Rantz)

The University of Washington deeply cares about free speech, so long as the speech is deemed acceptable to their Progressive viewpoints. If not, then, well, they will use staff members in positions of power, including the president, to bully students into submission.

Last week, the UW College Republicans held an “affirmative action bake sale” to highlight, in part, their disgust with the legislative passage of I-1000. It was meant to be provocative; that’s sometimes how you bring attention to important issues. I’m not normally a fan at this particular stunt because, for the most part, students (and, ahem, staff) aren’t nuanced enough to even understand the point that’s being made. Others get the point, but they don’t like it, so they become apoplectic.

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About 200 students (and others) came out to the HUB at the UW to mostly shout obscenities at the Republicans.

Many students were also shouting at the UW cops for not shutting down the speech of the conservative students — and a small group of conservative YouTubers who don’t attend the school. One woman told two black cops that “We know that your buddies are white nationalists too, and that’s why you don’t go after them” before she started to pick her nose (I’m not kidding).

Who knew these lunatic children would sound more rational than the triggered UW staff? Perhaps they were inspired by staff members?

A number of UW staffers wrote open letters, protesting the political stunt. While many I saw acknowledged the value of free speech, they then tried to get the speech censored.

An email excerpt posted to Twitter, allegedly written by Dr. Jodie Katon, Research Assistant Professor, at the UW Department of Health Services, said in part: “If you are affiliated in anyway (sic) you can also write a letter asking for this event to be cancelled.”

When I asked Katon about the letter, she blocked me, then put her Twitter feed to protected.

Dr. Dana Miller, an associate professor in the UW Department of Biochemistry, wrote in a letter she published on Twitter that the event communicated that “people of color are not welcome here” and that the bake sale violates the school’s harassment policy. Miller would then tweet out that “This event explicitly calls out people of color as ‘less than’ – it is hate speech.”

The event did not indicate students of color don’t belong at UW. It did not call out anyone as “less than” and no, it is neither “hate speech” (a legally meaningless term) nor a violation of the UW harassment policy.

Most troubling is the letter UW President Ana Mari Cauce wrote to the fragile students and staff members who didn’t like having their echo chambers infiltrated by half a dozen college students.

While claiming the campus needs “reasoned debate on affirmative action,” Cauce quickly says “the so-called ‘affirmative action’ bake sale the UW College Republicans are hosting today has no place in such a debate.” She condemns it for not being “a forum for serious discussion” and “this sale humiliates and dehumanizes others.”

This statement comes from a college president who, last year, was sued for violating the free speech rights of the same conservative students she continues to target. The school was forced to rescind their policy that silenced the UWCRs from hosting events with speakers she didn’t like.

Cauce, and her triggered colleagues, declared war on free speech at the UW. She gives herself cover by finally admitting that yes, the speech is protected. But it doesn’t matter. She singled out a group of conservative students because she didn’t like how they portrayed their viewpoint on a policy she supports.

For some, that could reasonably have a chilling effect on speech. Might a freshman, for example, be less likely to attend a UWCR meeting, for fear that he or she would be the target of a school president – or UW professor – when they need to rely on the supposed-impartiality of the campus administration? But, perhaps, that’s the point.

Cauce seems to exclusively target conservatives for their positions. She could have made her points in her blog without targeting the students. She chose not to — she wants to intimidate them. The UW tried, unsuccessfully, to stop this club from organizing in the past. Perusing her blog, you’ll be hard pressed to find her single out other students or clubs in any meaningful way. She didn’t even offer a blog of support to the cops who were at the HUB trying to maintain peace, while being called white supremacists.

Cauce, like many campus ideologues, hopes to have a campus free of conservative or libertarian viewpoint. Then they could fully mold these young, impressionable minds into the activists they hope to unleash on society.

If you’re going to single out students with derision and ridicule, perhaps you should turn your attention to the lunatic students who cried, got violent, and hurled vulgarities at the conservatives. That is not a rational response to students holding a bake sale. Any bake sale. They reacted this way because UW is failing them.

WATCH: Students, staff clash with UW Republicans over affirmative action bake sale

The reaction on display from some in the crowd is unhealthy. No one’s life is ruined — nor even challenged — in the presence of an affirmative action bake sale. These students are this fragile because of a campus environment that has them believe they’re always right and should never, ever be challenged. Most students I saw interact with the conservatives didn’t want a debate. They wanted capitulation. They wanted the conservatives to apologize for the errors of their ways and just give up. If a half-priced cookie triggers you to a meltdown, you need serious help.

And it’s not only that these kids are so fragile that Cauce must bully students she disagrees with. She’s terrified that the point the UWCRs make might convince students and staff that she’s wrong, and they’re right. And she can’t have that, can she?

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Rantz: After affirmative action bake sale, UW president declares war on free speech