Stanislaus State University students are taking a stand against the hate and bigotry on display in Charlottesville, Virginia, despite the California campus being on the opposite side of the country.
“Hate speech and separatist speech can’t hide behind free speech anymore,” protester and student Jared Brown told Sacramento’s CBS affiliate.
White supremacists and Nazis have argued that their right to advocate their cause is protected by the First Amendment. Comedian Bill Maher has been quick to defend them as well, attacking students as “snowflakes” who can’t hear ideas different from theirs.
Monday, nearly two dozen students disrupted an address by the school’s President Ellen Junn by holding signs denouncing white supremacy.
Brown and his fellow students demanded that the school develop a zero-tolerance policy for white supremacists and that they expel Nathan Damigo, who was arrested for punching a woman during an April clash with protesters in Berkeley. He’s also the founder of a white supremacist group and was a co-organizer of the rally in Virginia last week.
“I don’t want his ideology expressed in congruence with this campus,” said Brown.
The school said that they weren’t bothered by the demonstration, calling it an example of free speech.
“It was important for her [Ellen Junn] to hear the students, and it was important for her to give the students a voice,” said spokesperson Rosalee Rush. She explained that the school is working on a campaign to preserve free speech while also stopping hate speech. They hope to use it as an educational opportunity.
The school’s motto is “Vox Veritas Vita,” which translates from Latin to mean “Speak the Truth as a way of Life.”
“Academia is here to raise voices and have productive dialogue,” said Rush.
They didn’t comment on Damigo due to privacy concerns.
You can watch the video uploaded by the Modesto Progressive Democrats below: