#WeAreCSULB, a coalition of student groups, published a statement Oct. 25 claiming that Long Beach State provides no protection or support for marginalized groups on campus. The statement was posted to the La Raza Student Association Instagram, following Turning Point USA’s event, Campus Clash Oct. 23.
#WeAreCSULB is comprised of Anakbayan Long Beach, Black Student Union, California Autonomous Student Movement, La Raza Student Association, Queers and Allies, Students for Quality Education and the Young Democratic Socialists of America.
Turning Point USA is an organization whose mission is “to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government,” according to their website.
“The institution has proven its negligence and violence once more to our community by allowing Turning Point USA’s event to take place on campus on October 23rd,” the statement reads.
The student coalition said that the name Campus Clash implies violence and despite this, as well as the presence of police in riot gear and other security measures, President Jane Close Conoley still allowed this event to occur.
“This was especially made clear by President Conoley’s letter where she falsely protected Hate Speech under the guise of freedom of speech,” the statement reads. “She also put student protestors in danger (especially queer, trans, Black and other students of color) by encouraging others to call the cops on them.”
President Conoley said that #WeAreCSULB’s statement is an example of the type of free speech LBSU encourages, although she disagrees with its message.
“It is speech that I find to not match the values I espoused in preparing for and implementing the campus’ response to the Turning Point event, but our students are allowed to express their opinions,” Conoley said. “ They have this right even when I think they are mistaken and they cast some doubt on my (and by extension other university leadership’s) values, intents and beliefs.”
Conoley went on to say that she regrets that she has been misunderstood and portrayed by the letter but she appreciates that our campus is able to have tolerant and open dialogue.
“I think it would be a service to the campus for members of La Raza or any group that has a different world view from Turning Point USA to list their arguments and provide compelling counter evidence,” Conoley said. “The intellectually hard thing to do is to dismantle another viewpoint with real facts, the real story behind small government or socialism, sexual harassment or unregulated capitalism. I look forward to that essay.”
The student coalitions’ statement said that two “hecklers” harassed students and security took no measures to protect the protestors from them.
University Police Department Lt .Richard Goodwin said they were there to protect the first amendment and anyone who was hurt could file a report with UPD.
He also said UPD was taking photos of the event itself and not targeting specific people the photos were taken of.
The claim is followed by a list of instances in which the university allegedly allowed the promotion of bigoted ideals and racially driven harassment on campus.
These instances include when a student held a knife to a black female student in a sociology class in 2016, as well as President Conoley’s decision not to honor the university’s resolution to divest from companies who support the oppression of Palestinians.
“The university upholds white supremacy so much that they are willing to put the lives of students challenging it in danger,” the statement reads.
Coming Out Monologues, an event hosted by student club Queers and Allies, was originally set to take place in the University Student Union on the same night as Campus Clash, but was moved to the Karl Anatol Center.
“The event was moved out of the safety of both parties involved,” Queers and Allies President and third year liberal studies major, Lili Gallegos said. “We learned about the event one week prior and made the decision to move because we learned there was going to be uniformed cops and people with ideals that clashed with ours.”
Although no arrests were made during the protest, supporters and protesters of TPUSA engaged in shoving matches outside the USU. Gallegos said that although the Coming Out Monologues still ended up being successful, the university should have addressed possible safety issues ahead of time.
“We wish that the university had looked at who else was having an event that evening in the USU and reached out to us about what could’ve been done in terms of safety,” Gallegos said. “We are glad that no one was seriously injured, but definitely wish our comfort and safety had also been thought of.”
The entire first floor of the USU was reserved for the Campus Clash event for logistical and safety reasons, according to ASI senior communications manager James Ahumada.
“Notice was distributed via physical signage on the first floor of the USU the morning of the event, in line with public notice of closures in the facility for other private events,” Ahumada said. “The second and third floor remained open for students to lounge and study throughout the closure.”
Concluding the statement, the group claimed that the school does not care about marginalized students despite its efforts “to sell itself as a progressive and diverse campus.”