by Kara Zupkus, GW YAF
The YAF chapter at the George Washington University is hosting an event Wednesday featuring AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers. She will be discussing the hypocrisies of third wave feminism, including the wage gap myth, while advocating for freedom feminism. We have been postering since last week, including posters that say “#Resist Third Wave Feminism” and “Feminism Sucks (if you’re not a liberal)”.
We have postered four separate nights, due to intolerant GW students ripping down, defacing, or putting their posters over ours. In several instances, we have caught the vandals in the act, including two students shoving the posters in their pockets as they ran away on foot. One student, less than five minutes after we had put up the posters, tore one down, crumpled it in a ball, and attempted to walk away with it before being caught by one of our executive board members. As another member followed her while on the phone with University Police, attempting to find out her name, she yelled at him “You’re assaulting me!” It is unacceptable that within twenty minutes of hanging up our new posters, we had three protestors vandalizing our display.
Many of our “Feminism Sucks” posters were covered by posters from the GW Department of Africana Studies. A pro-choice group, GW Voices for Choices, also used the template from our original poster to advertise for their own event, titling it “Feminism Rocks”. The Voices for Choices group tore down many of our posters to put up their own version.
GW YAF is no stranger to protestors. For all of our speakers in recent memory, including Ben Shapiro and Bay Buchanan among others, the posters we had hung advertising for the event were torn down, mocked on social media, defaced, or damaged in some way.
At our Cemetery of the Innocents pro-life display, several students ripped out our crosses and tore our sign. We caught the perpetrators on camera, confronted them, and filed reports with UPD.
In every case, we have taken the appropriate steps to file a report and reach out to all available resources, including the Center for Student Engagement, University Police, and Events and Venues. We have reached out to several university administrators expressing our concerns and asking for something to be done.
No action has been taken by the university to discipline any of the students involved with damaging our displays, even after repeated attacks on GW YAF.
On a very liberal campus, conservative voices are already drowned out. It is unacceptable that intolerant, liberal students can get away with tearing down a piece of paper (or a display) that they don’t agree with, or makes them feel “unsafe”. Imagine if the roles were reversed: If a conservative student had defaced a pro-choice poster (on a very liberal campus), there would most likely be a more immediate, disciplinary response from the university.
This attack on our freedom of speech and expression cannot and will not be tolerated.
Conservative students should not have to guard posters they spent time and money on putting up, making sure that a disagreeing student or organization doesn’t tear them down. The double standard for progressive groups’ free speech versus conservative groups is despicable.
We are calling on the university to finally take a stand in defending freedom of expression, and putting an end to the hateful attacks and repeated destruction and defamation of our displays.
It seems like being the most politically active campus in the country comes with a significant casualty: civility.