Students at the University of Virginia (UVA) smeared a conservative member of the student council and the Young America’s Foundation on Tuesday during a heated public comment meeting.
The UVA student council held a public comment period on Tuesday evening, inviting students to weigh in on various resolutions sitting before the council. Students who offered comments spent a large amount of time accusing YAF of endangering minorities through voicing conservative opinions.
“I’m going to keep this fairly short, because as a white person I believe that’s it’s my turn to listen and not speak out, but I know it’s not very civil for me to say this, and I may be removed from the meeting for saying this, but f*** you,” UVA student Regan Borucke said. “Your political beliefs are not in any way equivalent to a racial identity, and if you are a conservative on this, on grounds, you are not oppressed in any way, and you are not discriminated against, and any sort of harassment you typically bring on yourself through divisive speech. And I just want to say to any BIPOC members on the student council, I am so sorry. I am so sorry.”
Students said YAF should be “held accountable” for allegedly inspiring “death threats” against minority students. They also claimed that the First Amendment of the Constitution does not include a right to “hate speech.”
“We should know that the Constitution, even the United States, is based on white supremacist notions; [so] the fact that we’re using the Constitution to uphold hate speech just shows how racist it really is. Additionally, YAF has constantly, [at] various times, posted videos that have led to death threats for BIPOC individuals, and they have not been held accountable by the university, by student council, so I’m just curious about the accountability that’s happening here,” student Diana Tinta said. “At this point, YAF has put a lot of students in danger by putting it on Twitter, putting it on other types of social medias, and I think that YAF should have some form of accountability. They should be honestly dismantled, and we should stop talking about the Constitution to defend their actions when it is based on white supremacy. Both of them are. And YAF should be dismantled and abolished.”
“One of the comments that was made during the committee concerns period about hate going to YAF; I would just like to say that the video that YAF ended up posting actually caused death threats to a lot of people in the representative body and I do not think that is fair to them, especially since they endured a lot of disrespect and gaslighting during the last meeting, and it is not fair to them to continue to receive harassment from students and from people all around the world that do not actually know what happened during this period, and they were not asked about anything before that video was even posted by YAF, and it is not fair to them that they just continue being disrespected on a daily basis for something that they did not actually say and was taken out of context,” UVA student government representative Akshitha Kalavakonda said. “It is not fair to them. Additionally, I would like to say that everyone talking about the First Amendment, hate speech is not protected under the First Amendment. I repeat, hate speech is not protected under the First Amendment. So please do not use that as an excuse to disrespect and gaslight people.”
The outpouring of rage against YAF and its members at UVA came after YAF activist and student council representative Nick Cabrera spoke out against a resolution to create a strike system for professors who are reported by students for making racist statements. Cabrera said the strike system allowed students to report professors without first providing “concrete evidence” of any offense, according to The New Guard.