ALISSA LOPEZ: YAFers are fighting the good fight Roughly one year ago, ...
Authored By Haley Smith
June 29, 2016
Roughly one year ago, Alissa Lopez decided she wanted to bring conservative ideas to her liberal campus. Not long after, Alissa attended a Young America’s Foundation conference and got to work building a Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Gettysburg College. Almost immediately after the creation of her chapter, Alissa and her fellow YAFers were targeted viciously by liberal students on their campus. These attacks lasted the duration of the school year.
But she never gave up.
Now, media outlets are recognizing the chapter for its bold activism in the face of liberal attacks. After Inside Higher Ed highlighted Alissa’s fight to push her administration towards protecting ideological diversity, we interviewed the chapter chair on her explosive first year as a YAF activist.
1 . In response to leftists tearing your YAF chapter’s pro-life posters down, your school implemented a “bias response team.” Is the new bias response team necessary and for what reason would the school need to have one?
Honestly, I really couldn’t even tell you why the school would need one. I don’t think it’s necessary at all. It’s focused on “proactive education” but what does that even mean. What one person thinks is proactive, another person could think the opposite… it’s really open for interpretation. Like, what’s the extent of their jurisdiction? Do they have say over just what goes on in the classroom or outside of that? Can they target certain speakers if it doesn’t fit into their vision of a “proactive education?” What about posters?
2. Do you think the bias response team will undermine your right to free speech?
Oh man, I don’t know. I really hope not. It seems as though [Chief Diversity Officer] Jeanne Arnold is not a very big fan of our club and considering she seems to be the one in charge of organizing this…. I don’t know. But we shall see.
3. Back in February a student at the protest of your posters said, “If the school doesn’t hold you accountable, then we will.” Did the school discipline this student in any way?
No. Of course not. The President at the time and I met with [Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities] Ron Wiafe over this and she informed him that it wasn’t a threat and that she had no intention of doing anything to physically or mentally harm us. So it was our word versus hers. It’s funny because we get scrutinized and asked to take down our posters because our message is supposedly threatening and triggering, yet when a student blatantly threatens other students, conservative students, she gets a slap on the wrist and that’s it. I actually invited the student directly, regardless of that threat, to our Sonnie Johnson event and of course I didn’t receive a response and she did not attend the event.
4. What has it been like to fight for conservative ideas on your campus this year?
It’s been one hell of a ride, I’ll tell you that much. There were a lot of social adjustments I had to make that were not easy at first. Getting kicked out of a sorority and being ridiculed and cut off by people who you had literally just hung with is not easy. But I got up everyday and I went to class and I lived my life and continued my activism. And each day it got easier. Myself and every other YAFer in this country are fighting the good fight. We aren’t letting the left win. We aren’t giving them what they want. We are challenging their beliefs and their crybaby-like behaviors. We are educating our communities and starting discussions about things that people don’t want to talk about it. And the leftists hate it. But we love it. We absolutely love it.