Having taken absolutely no lessons from last year’s SLO Solidarity protests and campus-wide outrage, Cal Poly has outdone itself once again: the Free Speech Wall, set up annually by the Cal Poly College Republicans, has turned into a complete sh*tshow of transphobic, homophobic, anti-Islamic, racist, sexist slurs.
Enough is enough. It’s time to end the tradition of erecting this wall.
Taking down the wall is not an attack on your free speech. Nor is it an attack on the College Republican’s pledge to upholding that free speech. But let’s be real: we have plenty of outlets to voice our opinions besides a wall that is nothing more than troll bait. Respectful and academic dialogue is what should be occurring on a college campus, and this wall has certainly not been used for scholarly discussion and debate.
If Cal Poly rejects hate speech like it says it does, why extend an open invitation for bigots to come creeping out of their hidey-holes and spew their venom onto a piece of plywood for the world to see? These people have places to exercise their right to free speech elsewhere: at home, in club meetings with their peers, in the deepest and darkest corners of the Internet. Why let them do it here, where we claim to promote a safe and inclusive environment for all?
Our students have done nothing to deserve the hurt and fear imposed by the words written on that wall.
Is upholding a club tradition really worth more than the sense of safety and well-being of our students?
Taking down the wall will, at the very least, demonstrate Cal Poly’s commitment to eradicating outlets for hate on campus. And while taking it down is in no way digging out the roots of hate, it is cutting off one of its branches that has long been hanging over our campus.
We don’t need these negative vibes pulsing through campus every fall. We can communicate our respect for the First Amendment without giving trolls a place to scrawl their miserable hate speech on for the world to groan at.
In sum: take the wall down. Take your hate speech elsewhere. It doesn’t belong here.