About a month after their 9/11 display was torn down by a professor, the Saddleback YAF chapter was hit with yet another case of vandalism, this time when their poster display for an upcoming event was torn down not once, but twice within a few hours.
The posters promoted an upcoming speaker event on Oct. 18 featuring Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a British national security expert, delivering a talk about radical Islam and counterterrorism.
Members of the club put up about forty promotional posters before their weekly meeting, and after a previous posting policy violation, chose to hang those posters in one of the four free speech zones on campus and followed the school code regarding posters.
However, upon returning from their meeting an hour later, the posters were torn down, and stuffed into a nearby trashcan. Members of Saddleback YAF were not too happy with what had transpired.
“I am disappointed in the fact that we posted specifically in the designated posting areas and our posters are still being torn down,” said Saddleback YAF Chair Audra Leslie. “When the left dislikes something, they’ll silence your freedom of speech and expression, and I find that very disheartening since this is a college campus, which should be a forum for open discussion.”
The immediate reaction from the chapter was to put up more posters, and this time keep an eye on the display so that they could grab evidence of the vandalism being taken place. Sure enough, within a few more hours, the posters were being removed again, and this time, it was caught on video.
According to club treasurer and Refined Right contributor Thomas Columbus, those who were removing the posters were following the orders of someone who was not pleased with the 9/11 Never Forget Project that the club had put up last month, the same one that was vandalized and nearly barred altogether by school administrators.
“If there is something with which you disagree, come to us or come to our event and voice your dissent,” Columbus said. “What do you stand to gain from vandalism and attacks on free speech?”
The club intends to continue to promote their event while countering the continued attacks against them and their displays. When asked about what she would like to say to those tearing down YAF’s event posters, Leslie commented:
“Those who are considering tearing down the posters again should instead keep an open mind, come to the event, hear what Dr. Gorka has to say and ask questions. Terrorism and radical Islam are important issues to talk about on campus, and it is the duty of students to challenge their set notions and open their minds. We hope our peers on campus feel the same way.”