“I wish you the best and support you fully in what you did…If you tell students that they are number one, then they will run the place. They are not number one. They are guests, subsidized by the state, and lucky to spend time with faculty like you.” (Emphasis added.) – Dr. Howard Gensler, Saddleback College
Leftist professors rushed to support Margot Lovett, the Saddleback College professor who made national headlines last fall when she tore down and destroyed Young America’s Foundation posters memorializing the lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. Saddleback College is a public community college located in Orange County, California.
The posters were part of Young America’s Foundation’s annual 9/11: Never Forget Project and were intended to pay tribute to the innocent victims of 9/11. Thousands of students nationwide participate in this project, which includes placing 2,977 flags in the ground—one for every person murdered by radical jihadists in September 11, 2001.
The story went viral, with more than 190,000 views on YouTube, after Young America’s Foundation shared video footage of Lovett tearing down and destroying the 9/11 memorial posters. TheBlaze, Breitbart, Fox News, Townhall, Yahoo, Newsmax, the Daily Wire, and the Daily Caller also featured the story.
In an interview with Brit Hume on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly spoke on the subject, saying, “This is reminiscent to me of what the German universities were doing in the 1930s and the Soviet Union’s universities before that.”
While Americans expressed outrage over the desecration of the 9/11 memorial, the faculty at Saddleback College applauded it in emails that Young America’s Foundation presumes were never intended to be shared with the public.
As part of Young America’s Foundation’s newest initiative to protect embattled conservative students and advance free speech, the Foundation sent Saddleback College a public records request for documents regarding the college’s handling of the situation. The results were astounding.
School Policy Did Not Require Lovett to Remove the Posters
Lovett claimed that school policy required her to remove the posters because YAF student activists did not have permission from the student government to display them. She stated, “You’re allowed to put posters up, but you need to get permission from student government to do that, otherwise I have to take them down.”
In our public records request, Young America’s Foundation demanded that Saddleback College produce the school policy that Lovett referenced.
The school’s answer to the request revealed that no such policy exists. The Foundation also confirmed that school policy did not require Lovett to destroy the posters.
Saddleback’s Faculty Applauded Lovett’s Actions
Young America’s Foundation’s public records request uncovered a series of emails between Lovett and other faculty members.
In an email dated September 11, 2016, three days after the story went viral, Lovett wrote, “The college administration has been extremely supportive, which I very much appreciate. I have received phone calls from President Burnett, VPSS Juan Avalos, and VPI Kathy Werle.”
Positing faculty against students, Howard Gensler, an economics instructor at Saddleback College (quoted above), voiced his support of Lovett’s actions by describing students as subsidized guests of the college who are lucky to spend time with her. In the same email, Gensler also unequivocally offered his “full support” of Lovett’s actions.
Fellow history instructor, Jedrek Mularski, in an email to Lovett, told her that she gets “a badge of honor” for her actions. He then advocated that “the college release a statement that you [Lovett] were required to enforce campus policy.” Again, Young America’s Foundation discovered that no such campus policy exists. Mularski also suggested that the college have one of its “conservative administrators contact the group [YAF] to try to convince them to take down the article/video.”
Mularski also criticized Saddleback College’s administration for not removing the 2,977 flags that YAF students placed in the ground to personally honor each victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He wrote, “And so I guess those flags on the lawn were from the YAF. It sounds like the College said no to their installation, but then chickened out on actually removing it once YAF set it up.”
Mularski summed up his thoughts on the situation by exclaiming, “This crap is infuriating on so many levels.”
Support for Lovett extended beyond the Saddleback community. An English professor from Saddleback’s sister school, Irvine Valley College, wrote Lovett to express her support, noting, “Just now discovered, uh, recent events regarding the YAFers 9/11 posters and ensuing (all too predictable) right-wing media coverage…I admire your spirit and your actions.” (Emphasis added.)
Even a professor from North Carolina’s Elon University wrote to Lovett, saying, “I watched the video they recorded of you and read the one-sided hate-filled comments in the thread…You don’t need me to tell you that your comments to the group were polite and reasonable, but I thought you might appreciate a friendly supportive message nonetheless.
In an email from the South Orange County Community College District, an executive director, wrote, “Saddleback called to notify us that they are dealing with a PR issue over some 9-11 propaganda that was posted without permission in a non-designated area on campus.” (Emphasis added.)
September 11 memorial posters are “9-11 propaganda?” Students need permission to memorialize those murdered on 9/11? Only certain areas of a public school are designated for free speech? According to the leftists at Saddleback College, yes, yes, and yes!
Young America’s Foundation Fights Back by Launching New Program, Censorship Exposed!
To fight back against this and the numerous other attacks on free speech, Young America’s Foundation has launched a new project designed to expose First Amendment abuses in America’s schools. The unfair and discriminatory treatment of conservative students on college campuses is now routine. And as we learned from Saddleback College, this censorship of conservative ideas is celebrated by faculty and administrators.
Young America’s Foundation is proud to announce our newest project, “Censorship Exposed! – Uncovering First Amendment Abuses in America’s Schools.” Through Censorship Exposed! YAF is aggressively sending public records requests to public colleges and universities. These requests are very similar to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) but instead cite state law as controlling authority.
Public colleges and universities are required, by law, to provide certain public records to requesters. States define “public record” differently, but as a general rule, emails, school policies, curriculum, invoices, receipts, reports, and salaries are all considered public record. As a matter of public policy, they are made available upon request.
The support that we saw among the Saddleback faculty for the censoring of YAF activists’ patriotic message is just the beginning. Leftist faculty and administrators across the country continue to repress ideas that challenge leftist ideologies. By creating “safe spaces”—areas on campus where only liberal perspectives are welcomed—by banning conservative guest speakers from speaking on campus, and by charging conservative student organizations exorbitant “security fees” for hosting a conservative speaker, leftist administrators at public schools attempt to censor conservative viewpoints. And these are just a few of the tactics that conservative students consistently face.
Young America’s Foundation is leading the charge to expose First Amendment abuses and hold faculty and administrators accountable. YAF currently has numerous public record requests pending at public universities all across the country. These requests have put leftist administrators and professors on notice. They will not get away with stifling free speech and bullying conservative students.