By DAVE HUBER | THE COLLEGE FIX
West, the former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, U.S. representative and Texas GOP chairman, was invited by the campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom to give a speech titled “America is Not Racist.”
West managed to complete his speech despite chants of “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” by protesters outside the venue. But things turned south during the subsequent Q&A session as protesters “attempted to hijack the conversation” and “flung insults at West.”
According to The Spectrum, West’s talk really demoralized some students. BSU Secretary Taylor Lewis, for example, said she “felt weird” and was “trying to figure out where [her] place” on campus is as a “human being.”
Sociology graduate student J Coley said he is “exhausted” protesting (alleged) racism and believes the university hasn’t done enough to make the campus “a more inclusive place.”
“At the end of the day, it is not our responsibility,” Coley said. “The administration gets paid to do stuff like this. Remember, we pay their bills.”
The UB Graduate Student Association, of which Coley is president, issued a statement in support of black and “POC” (people of color) students regarding “the anti-Black hate speech promoted by Allen West’s presence on campus […] as well as the attacks on Black and POC student protesters the same day.”
The town hall also featured the all-too common “I’m all for free speech but …” statements. Student Smitty Smith said “I feel like everyone should have the right to freedom of speech, but the person you invite to speak and you give that platform to matters.” He said minority students needed to be “protected” from speakers like West.
In an Instagram post, student Morgan Ross added to the theme, writing “While we understand that people have the first amendment right to freedom of speech, regardless of if they share the same ideologies and thoughts as we do … there comes a point when we must confront the true reasons why certain platforms are given.”
In this case, the reasons include “minimiz[ing] the experiences of Black and Brown students in America.” Even though West is a black man.
New ‘Western civilization’ center planned for University of Florida
By Rachel Lalgie | The College Fix
The Florida legislature has passed legislation to build a new center focused on “teaching and research concerning ideas, traditions, and texts that form the foundations of American civilization.”
The education funding bill included $3 million in funds directed at the Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education at the University of Florida.
The goals of the center listed in the bill include educating students on the “core texts and great debates of Western civilization,” “the principles, ideals, and institutions of the American political order” and the “foundations of responsible leadership and informed citizenship.”
A spokesperson for the governor said this center will advance DeSantis’ goal to ensure “every child can receive a world-class civics education that prepares them to be great citizens who will lead successful lives.”
“The Hamilton Center will serve as a vital hub for civic education programming, teacher training, public-facing lectures and events, and a center of learning and inquiry for the entire community,” Christina Pushaw told The College Fix via email.
“The center will give students a deeper understanding of the intellectual foundations and traditions of Western civilization, and the principles that have shaped American politics,” Pushaw said.
“Governor DeSantis has consistently advocated for intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity within higher education,” Pushaw said. “[T]he Hamilton Center will help protect pluralism and free expression on campus.”
K-12 students will also benefit “because educators can receive training there that will help enhance the civics education of tens of thousands of Florida students.”
“The Hamilton Center will provide opportunities for approximately 2,500-5,000 UF students; and opportunities to enhance the civic education of 20,000-50,000 Florida high school students,” the budget request stated.
Pushaw told The Fix the bill will be signed before July 1 to meet the budget deadline for the upcoming fiscal year.
The University of Florida said it is “prepared to move forward on this initiative,” communications director Brittany Wise told The Fix.
Wise also told The Fix that it is too early in the process to know certain details, such as the timeline for building this center. But, UF looks forward “to making this resource available to [the] campus community.”
The Hamilton Center will also be working with the Florida State University’s Institute of Politics and Florida International University’s Adam Smith Center for the Study of Economic Freedom “to assist in the curation and implementation of Portraits in Patriotism,” according to the legislation.
The College Fix reached out to the Smith Center at Florida International University twice via email on April 7 and 13 to ask how UF plans to work with the center, and how working together will be beneficial to both the centers in the future, but received no response.