In an email sent to students at California State University, Los Angeles, on Friday, President William Covino not-so-subtly attacked the CSULA Young Americans for Freedom Chapter for its work to facilitate discussion on border security and immigration policy. CSULA YAF’s offense? Holding tabling events and advertising their April 23 lecture with Michael Knowles.

Editor’s Note: If the name Covino sounds familiar, it should. President Covino canceled Ben Shapiro’s lecture back in 2016, but YAF and Shapiro showed up anyway. The resulting events are featured prominently in Shapiro’s new book The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great

Last week, scores of campus leftists took to jeering at members of CSULA YAF and chanting “F*uck YAF,” while the chapter tabled to advertise their Knowles lecture. Yet President Covino chooses to chastise CSULA YAF—the students bringing intellectual diversity and an actual conversation on this vital topic—rather than address the intolerance toward conservatives on campus.

Saying that his school upholds the right to free speech, Covino adds “I want you to know that I recognize its cost…Some speech may be deeply hurtful and may cause anger, confusion, and feelings of betrayal among many in our community.”

President Covino then lays into CSULA YAF—without mentioning them by name, of course—for their work to drive an actual dialogue on border security:

“When the actions of a few on our campus lack the compassion and sensitivity that characterize healthy dialogue, it is our collective responsibility to restore those values. I stand, in unwavering solidarity, with all our students, regardless of their immigration status… Dreamers and other immigrant students are transforming their lives through education and realizing their dreams.”

As you’ll remember, President Covino had nothing to say to the leftists who were chanting “F*ck YAF” on the campus quad earlier in the week, and this response to Knowles’ lecture, titled simply “America Needs Border Security,” has clearly upset the fragile sensibilities of Covino and his comrades in intolerance.

In response to Knowles and CSULA YAF’s latest effort to bring diversity of ideas to Cal State LA, President Covino announced that “campus professionals at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Dreamers Resource Center remain available to assist students… [and] offered to faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program.”

Ironically, Covino emphasizes the “immigration forums and other events” offered at CSULA “with opportunities for students to discuss this and other difficult topics.” Yet he has positioned himself opposite CSULA YAF, Covino’s own students, who are working to do exactly that.

In closing, Covino states that the “role of the University in these divisive times is to stand for the values and principles that are central to higher education and to a civil society. As we witness the polarization of our nation, we must not allow that vitriol to influence how we relate to each other. In our community, compassion and caring are fundamental and divisiveness has now place.”

Easy for Covino to say—he’s not a conservative student.


For additional information or to request an interview contact Young America’s Foundation Spokesman Spencer Brown via sbrown@yaf.org or 800-872-1776.