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  • Freedom Mocked at Swarthmore

    11/17/2010 4:13:22 PM Posted by Evan Gassman

    UPDATE: Read a response to all the user comments here .

    This morning, eyebrows were raised at Young America’s Foundation headquarters. Liberal students published an op-ed  in the Swarthmore's Daily Gazette College student newspaper, “expressing disappointment” at a Dean who stood up for Conservative activists. You can lookat the inflammatory op-ed here.

    Long story short, Conservative activists at Swarthmore hungup Freedom Week flyers (not the flyers featured and ridiculed in the op-ed), and liberal students tore down the flyers and hung up “parody flyers.” Conservative students are used to having their flyers torn down, but “parody flyers” are something rather uncommon.

    The op-ed is an enigma – rather than attack the Freedom Week posters which were on display (we’d love to hear them dismiss flyers that denounce communism), they attack a different batch of flyers entirely. Journalistic ethics were clearly not a concern to these two liberal students –the article is extremely misleading, alluding that the two posters pictured were the ones hung. They weren’t.

    Furthermore, the op-ed makes a baseless accusation: It claims that YAF is funded by “conservative corporate interests.” That is not true – Young America’s Foundation is funded by individual donations fromgenerous conservatives across the country. Again, journalistic ethics were thrown out the window.

    Finally, the op-ed concludes by claiming that our flyers “promote harm, falsehood, and ignorance.” Oh really?Swarthmore 2 I would respond by saying an “ignorant” person would tear down flyers they disagree with (which students did), a poorlywritten op-ed which tells lies is promoting “falsehoods” (which they submitted), and targeting students that think differently than you do is “harmful” to civil discourse (which they are doing).

    According to Dean Braun’s email, the “parody posters” were so close to our (copyrighted) flyers, that some people mistook them as official Young America’s Foundation flyers. Is that civil? No, of course not – yet these“open-minded” individuals seemingly defended the mockery of fellow studentsjust because they think differently.

    So James Mao and William Lin of the Class of 2012, before you publish another scathing op-ed which contains little research, why don’t you first try and understand why Young America’s Foundation exists? I’ll save you the time – we exist because of students like you who’d prefer conservatives be brushed under the rug and denied the right to hang flyers, host speakers,and do what any other club on campus is allowed to do.  

    We stand by our flyers, and we stand by our students.

     I’d also like to express my gratitude, and surprise, that Dean Braun spoke out against the ridicule,and defended our student’s First Amendment rights. Tearing down a flyer is the moral equivalent of placing your hand over someone’s mouth - and she was right expressing concern over it. 

    CORRECTION, 11/18: The Daily Gazette is not Swarthmore's only student newspaper. The other student newspaper at Swarthmore College is, "The Phoenix." We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.


    • Readers' Comments

    • Way to write a one-sided, hypocritical article--one that criticizes others for being "poorly researched," when this very article distorts what actually happened at Swarthmore and also "tells lies." For instance, the two students at Swarthmore affiliated with YAF included ones beyond the "Freedom Week" posters.
      Posted by Harry Jones on 11/17/2010
    • Do you go to Swat? Do you have any idea what you're talking about? We pride ourselves on actual intellectual dialogue, which the Swarthmore chapter of YAF has been incredibly reluctant to engage in. I'm speaking to more than just the posters -- I'm talking about every interaction I've had with the only two visible members of this group. Furthermore, if you had read the comments thread, you would have seen that nearly everybody disagreed with the vandalism -- but not with the parodies. I'm sure as an advocate of free speech you can understand why. So, basically, this article is misleading as their op-ed -- but their op-ed doesn't claim to be based on fact.
      Posted by Adriana Massi on 11/17/2010
    • Wow. Just, wow. And NOT in a good way.
      Posted by ghh on 11/17/2010
    • This feels very personal. If you want to debate the points proposed by the op-ed, do it. Don't attack the writers of the article. Putting their names in this article? Making generalizations about what they stand for? Unnecessary. What were your words for this? Oh yes, "journalistic ethics...thrown out the window."
      Posted by Rowen Jin on 11/18/2010
    • I don't know where you got your correction from, but there are two campus newspapers at Swarthmore, one of which is the Gazette.
      Posted by k on 11/18/2010
    • In her OWN words, (the only?) student representative of the Swarthmore branch of the YAF responds here: I'd encourage you to check it out. It seems almost as if they're no longer interested in being a part of your organization... ~ Another Swarthmore Student
      Posted by PL on 11/18/2010
    • This article claims that 'Journalistic ethics were thrown out the window' yet it calls out and spotlights students by name to berate them and threaten them? Irony can be such a bastard, can't it?
      Posted by Vibozy on 11/18/2010
    • As Features Editor at The Daily Gazette I would like to correct your correction and say that The Daily Gazette is indeed one of Swarthmore's student newspapers. We are an online daily, while The Phoenix is a print weekly with a website as well. The about debate has been taking place on our site:
      Posted by Monika Zaleska on 11/19/2010
    • this is ridiculous. i agree with 'k' -- why on earth is the daily gazette being 'crossed out' as a newspaper on campus here? i've never heard of such a monstrous industry backing 'students' at campuses across the country to promote a shared political viewpoint -- this whole stink is very revealing of the larger 'corporate'/colonial model of conservatism in the U.S. today. eerie !!!
      Posted by eraseerase on 11/20/2010
    • The correction is NOT saying the newspaper isn't student-based, it's correcting the misleading notion that it is Swarthmore's ONLY student newspaper. Note how it still says "Swarthmore's." It's amazing how quickly people will retreat from the original issue - flyers were torn down and ridiculed because instead of debating the content, people wanted to denounce those who believe in what the flyers say. Amazing.
      Posted by Evan on 11/22/2010
    • I find it quite disturbing that College Students do not see the immaturity and blatant barbaric nature it would take for them to hinder another student's freedom of speech. Some of you claim that the two students of YAF were never open for conversation or dialogue to begin with. If this is true ( Which I doubt it is, they most likely just used facts, which caused you all to run), then wouldn't you want to stand up for the left, and show your campus that you are above the frivolous actions you despise so much? There seems to be some errors in your logic, typical Liberal.
      Posted by mary kate on 11/23/2010
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