In response to the ongoing debate over immigration and border security, the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA YAF) planned a series of events to advocate for President Trump’s border wall. CSULA YAF’s initiatives included tabling to distribute information on the crisis along the southern border, signage emblazoned with “Build the Wall,” and a campus lecture by the Daily Wire‘s Michael Knowles.
Internal emails obtained exclusively through Young America’s Foundation’s Censorship Exposed project show a gang of leftist faculty who are as ill-adjusted as the fragile students they teach. CSULA President William Covino and several professors—all clearly suffering from a severe phobia of conservatives—were in hysterics as their own emails show.
When faculty learned that CSULA YAF had begun advocating for a fair and lawful immigration system and a secure border, they became “emotionally and physically triggered” according to professor Carlos Tejada who called the activism initiatives a “‘free speech’ attack.”
“I nearly had to cancel class because of how shaken I am about seeing a ‘Build the Wall’ banner on our campus,” he lamented. The activism project “poses a threat to the mental well-being of many of our students, staff, and faculty [and] violates their sense of safety on their campus,” he added. It “was not simply an exercise of ‘free speech,’ but an outright attack on the psyches and well-being of more than few students, faculty, and staff.”
CSULA President William Covino wrote in a university-wide email that he “cannot remain silent in the face of actions that ostracize our students who are immigrants or children of immigrants,” before complaining that “the actions of a few on our campus [who] lack the compassion and sensitivity that characterize healthy dialogue.”
Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor and former chair of Pan-African Studies at CSULA decried the YAF chapter as “a White-supremacist student group” in an email to CSULA President William Covino, echoing Tejada’s alarm. Abdullah stated that the YAF chapter’s Build the Wall project was “blatantly racist,” and called for Covino to “immediately revoke all permits for such programming and student groups that make such hateful work their core.”
When this crew discovered the Daily Wire‘s Michael Knowles would be speaking on campus through YAF’s nationwide lecture program, they scrambled to protect their students from hearing a diverse point of view.
Professor Tejada again took charge by creating an event calling for “#NOBORDERS” titled “Migrants Are Beautiful,” which he explains “was specifically organized to draw attention away from the speaker the Young Americans for Freedom are bringing to campus.” Tejada also decries what he calls the “national strategy” of YAF, defined by him as “to provoke confrontations and ensnarl campus in litigation about ‘free speech.’”
In a sappy email to President Covino from Rita Ledesma, a special assistant at CSULA, parameters around First Amendment expression are suggested “to consider how ‘free speech’ is protected when ‘free speech’ activates psychological trauma.”
This egregious misreading of the Constitution is echoed by another instructor, Gabriela Amilivia, who emailed Tejada and Covino suggesting CSULA YAF’s Build the Wall activism was a violation of the US Constitution and international humanitarian law. “When is supposed freedom of speech a mediatic operation from well paid lobbyists in a national operation targeting specific campuses and spreading a message of hate?” she asks. Amilivia states that CSULA cannot let the YAF chapter “lie with impunity” and suggests “they could be invited to a debate and taught about US and international law.”
Despite his best efforts to appease radical no-border leftists while maintaining a semblance of constitutional freedom, not even CSULA President William Covino was safe from the intolerant professoriat’s wrath. Tejada slammed his own boss over email for Covino’s “silence, inaction, and caution-filled/conviction-empty statement that came only after multiple calls for action clearly index that our current leadership lacks the moral clarity and courage needed to be entrusted with the stewardship of this campus.”
If the names Abdullah and Covino sound familiar, they should—it was William Covino who initially canceled Ben Shapiro’s planned YAF lecture at CSULA in 2016 before begrudgingly allowing the event to take place while Abdullah whipped students into a violent horde that blocked doors, trapped students inside the venue, and resulted in Shapiro needing a police escort to leave the premises.
Sadly, it seems these caricatures of leftist intolerance haven’t changed much in the last three years, despite losing to Young America’s Foundation in court over their actions. In fact, the school’s shameful handling of the YAF chapter’s lecture with Ben Shapiro was praised in response to this latest spat of administrative intolerance.
“Many of us have and will continue to oppose the racists, up to and including putting our bodies between them and our students, as in the infamous Shapiro-inspired aggression,” writes Steve Teixeira, a career services specialist at CSULA.
Not only do these emails obtained by YAF show the leftist bent of the powers that be at CSULA, they show an academic system where departure from leftist orthodoxy earns one status as a white supremacist. These administrators are proud of their intolerance, and even turn on their own when attempts to abide by the First Amendment interferes with the progressive agenda.