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? 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.