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After a white supremacist group hung a large banner unapproved by the university, which read “America is our birthright,” outrage ensued. Coalitions of students groups formed as a response to the group’s actions, as did the UTSA Campus Climate team and the Student Action Coalition.

The goal expressed by these groups is to promote a “safe” environment at UTSA by reporting on “bias incidents,” such as the banner hanging. However, the underlying cause of this push for tolerance is superficial.

This is nothing more than a push for intersectionality through identity politics. It is another step in the wrong direction in ensuring one of the parent responsibilities of institutions of higher education, which is to forward the diversity of thought and promote the open and honest discussion of different ideas. This move to ensure a “safe” environment under the guise of physically protecting the students is nothing more than a façade in order to quash free speech.

The idea that a white supremacist group putting up a banner creates an unsafe environment is nonsense. By no stretch of the imagination am I condoning their ideology, as I absolutely condemn the group, but the idea that their ability to express their evil ideology is not “safe” doesn’t make sense to me. It is worth noting that without the banner hanging, this would not be a topic of discussion on campus as of now. The university has put great emphasis in various statements regarding their freedom of expression policies, but that’s not the issue.

This is an attack on free speech. No outrage came from the fact that the banner was not approved by the university to be hung; the outrage came in response to the group, the message and the ideology. Had this sign gone through all the requisite steps to be hung, the exact same outrage would be demonstrated today. This is an effort to suppress any ideas that may differ from the norms of left leaning talking points, and not only does it suppress conservatives on campus, it can create an unsafe environment for conservatives in general.

So many groups nowadays are quick to conflate conservative figures and organizations as racists, bigots, misogynists, transphobes, Nazis, white supremacists and so on. This is a growing issue, that administrators believe groups like Young Americans for Freedom will bring in tiki-torch carrying provocateurs; that radical leftists are quick to conflate people from Trump (a lifelong democrat), to people like Ben Shapiro (an Orthodox Jew), as a Nazi. As we have all been told, we are to punch Nazis; they should not be allowed an opinion. This is what happens when conservative ideology is systematically suppressed in left-leaning universities that perpetually indoctrinate students.

Freedom of speech is a defining characteristic of being an American. It is the idea that we can discuss issues regardless of race, culture, sex, orientation or background. It means I can say things like abortion is bad even though I am not a woman. It means I can say transgenderism is a mental disorder even though I am not a member of the LGBT community. It means I can say America is not a racist place, even though I am not black. I hold these beliefs on the basis of factual evidence. I’m always willing to openly discuss these ideas and am even willing to change my opinion on the basis of newly presented evidence.

Programs like Campus Climate only serve to further divide people among ideological lines, and Universities will continue to precipitously crack down on crimethink. Regardless of how you may identify, promoting the discussion of different ideas from both left and right, and even fringe groups such as Neo-Nazis, is the only way to ensure a truly safe environment.

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