Militant Journalism

Students struggle against fascist “College Republicans” at WSU

During the summer, between academic school years, it became known that the then-president of the College Republicans club at Washington State University, James Allsup, had attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and was even slated to speak at the event.

Predictably, the WSU College Republicans publicly denied knowledge of his involvement in this event, and Allsup was forced to resign his position. However, the racist character of the club should be apparent by its prior actions in organizing a “Build the Wall” event in Oct. 2016 during the election campaign as a means of showing their support for then candidate Donald Trump. At the time, multiple student organizations protested in front of the mock border wall. These represented communities of immigrants both documented and undocumented, as well as other oppressed nationalities and identities, all whom understood that Donald Trump and everything his followers stand for was a direct attack on their humanity.

This fall, the president of WSU, Kirk Schultz released a statement via email to all incoming students and faculty just before the academic year began regarding Charlottesville, writing, “Hate has no place at WSU. It has no place in the Cougar community.”

The student body was unconvinced by his statement, and rightfully so. The day before class began, students mobilized by an organization known as Unity on the Palouse hosted a “March against white supremacy” to voice their discontent, and staged a sit-in on the president’s office at the end of the first week of classes demanding:

– Creating clear guidelines of what hate speech consists of
– Increased cultural competency training for students and faculty
– Retention of cultural resource centers
– Increased access to gender-inclusive bathrooms

This wide list of demands shows the diversity of groups who had found common ground and the readiness to form together and voice united demands on the administration of the university.

On September 14, 12 Washington State legislators wrote a letter to Shultz, advising that the university disband the College Republicans as a registered student organization, stating “hateful beliefs were not only allowed a full voice on campus, creating a hostile climate for many students and staff, they were amplified by them being given a WSU and state sponsored platform.”

The spinelessness of Kirk Schultz in response to these demands by the student body and even a letter from 12 elected officials has become apparent.

On September 22, in response to the letter written by the state legislators, Schultz wrote: “We can’t shut down a viewpoint no matter how horrific or upsetting it is, if we don’t preserve the opportunity for all students to speak, then we’re doing something wrong.” In other words, he refuses to take an active role in actually making the university he leads a place where “hate has no place.”

Schultz wants to appear to disavow the hate, death and injury that occurred as a direct result of the propagation of racist ideology in Charlottesville and elsewhere, while refusing to take an active role in the institution he presides over to stop it from happening here. Instead he has firmly set himself and his institution on the side of the fascists, the side of the “College Republicans,” and against the united student body.

It is clear to anyone who has followed the growth of the fascist right in the United States that the route ahead of us is not to debate them on their terms. These protests and counter-protests are not a debate, they are the people standing up and refusing to let racists have a platform without contention, even when it means facing reprisals from the police and fascist terrorism. Down with white supremacy!

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