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Charlie Kirk speaking with attendees at the 2021 AmericaFest in Phoenix, Arizona, December 2021. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

OPINION: UC Davis Chancellor Schooled in Freedom of Expression, Diversity of Thought, and Inclusion

‘Tolerant Left:’ Antifa mob break through doors at Charlie Kirk UC Davis event

By Katy Grimes, March 21, 2023 3:39 pm

Last week the Globe reported on Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, who was invited by the local TPUSA chapter to speak at U.C. Davis March 14th. Ahead of his speech, the Sacramento Bee published an inflammatory article by Bee opinion assistant Hannah Holzer in which she said, ‘Another fascist speaker is coming to UC Davis,’ and claimed Charlie Kirk had openly called for lynching trans people. Holzer posted this same statement on Twitter, then deleted it. The Sacramento Bee altered the original article first saying, “An earlier version of this column included a reference to trans people that Charlie Kirk has strongly denied. His denial has been added to the column.” The Bee eventually issued an apology.

Making the situation worse, U.C. Davis Chancellor Gary S. May added fuel to the violence, rather than calling for calm and adult behavior, in a video he published ahead of the event:

Charlie Kirk vehemently denied he ever made the lynching statement, and announced he may sue the Sacramento Bee for libel.

The Globe was contacted by numerous UC Davis alumni, who expressed disgust with the Chancellor in particular, as well as the students who tried to shut down the TPUSA/Charlie Kirk event. One of the alumni, who is also a UC Davis employee, sent the Globe a thoughtful written op ed, but asked to remain anonymous over concerns of retribution.

Here it the op ed:

UC Davis Chancellor Schooled in Freedom of Expression, Diversity of Thought, and Inclusion

On March 14, The University of California, Davis published the statement Controversial, Student-Led Event Goes On As Planned, referencing an event organized by Turning Point USA at UC Davis. It is a suspicious headline given the summary states an officer sustained an injury when he was jumped on from behind and pushed to the ground, windows were broken and buildings were vandalized by protestors.

But as an employee, and former student, I was not surprised. This was expected. The familiar condemnation of hate and violence only applies to certain groups at the university, as does the leadership’s version of inclusion.

What was most glaring was the contrast between the speaker, Charlie Kirk, and the Chancellor regarding their views on freedom of expression, an appreciation of diversity of thought, and inclusion. Preceding the event the Chancellor distributed a video where he encouraged students and employees to not attend the event, as opposed to Charlie Kirk who gave priority to people with opposing beliefs to come to the front of the line for questions. The Chancellor filled his video with derogatory remarks, calling the speaker hateful, loathsome, divisive and an advocate for violence. Similar language was included in an opinion article in the Sacramento Bee, but the paper later issued an apology to correct misleading claims.

Chancellor May should do the same.

I would encourage others to view the event online to see the disconnect between the Chancellor’s message and the reality of what took place at the event. It is shocking. What I heard was a refreshing  exchange of ideas, many I agreed with and others that helped me understand different perspectives. The remarks and discussions were respectful and the intent seemed genuinely focused on helping others. There was no advocating for violence despite the Chancellor’s claims. Instead, the speaker ended the event with a call to remain peaceful and not engage with the protestors on the way out.

I walked away from the experience with some important questions. Who was the purveyor of hate and intolerance? Why would the Chancellor and others on the campus go to such lengths to portray the speaker as a villain? Why would he encourage an empty room instead of a fruitful discussion? Why would he not mention that while some expressed concerns about the event, others were thrilled to hear the perspective presented? Why was the approach and outcome so different when Chancellor May hosted his own controversial speaker, Ibram X. Kendi, who calls for active discrimination?

It is no coincidence that when Chancellor May speaks about freedom of expression at the university, he describes it  as “something we are obligated to uphold” instead of celebrating how the exchange of ideas is foundational to the growth, strength, and success of the students. That when we listen, especially when we disagree, we start to appreciate that we have more in common than others would like us to believe and that together we can achieve more than independently. That hate can be extinguished when we listen and try to understand each other.

The opportunity to listen to new perspectives and ideas is what attracted me to work at the university in the first place. Sadly, that is not what exists in the illiberal and divisive environment that exists today at UC Davis.

It is clear that Chancellor May’s vision of inclusion and standing against hate do not apply to all at the university. Take for example the threats received by the students that organized the event. Imagine how other like-minded, or even open-minded students felt about attending the event after hearing the Chancellor’s remarks in his video.

I would consider myself one of those open-minded people, so when the Chancellor says “As Aggies, this is who we are,” I could not disagree more.

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11 thoughts on “OPINION: UC Davis Chancellor Schooled in Freedom of Expression, Diversity of Thought, and Inclusion

    1. Why, sir?
      You work there and want to harass them?
      I saw students in the 80s indoctrinated to their way of thinking, by grading on the curve. It consisted of not ever contradicting or trying to understand this new way of thinking for many of them. They lowered grades for students who discussed this, like they had other students on the payroll reporting them.
      As an employee of some decades, I encountered this with the people I served, even though my job was a technical one, yet I was expected to donate and support the approved politicians and causes.

    2. It is not too bad that the author chose to remain anonymous. It is too bad that the author has to remain anonymous. On another campus, years ago, I won’t mention the Claremont Colleges, I was told directly and explicitly that I could not say anything to anyone — faculty, students, staff — without taking into consideration how every other person within earshot might react to it. And she meant it.

  1. Charlie Kirk should sue the Sacramento Bee’s Hannah Holzer for libel and U.C. Davis Chancellor Gary May for slander. It’s the only way to stop the radical left’s lies? Make them pay! The Sacramento Business Journal published photos of U.C. Davis Chancellor Gary May and his “wife” at the Mondavi Center Gala at UC Davis on March 4. They’re quite the odd couple? (https://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2023/03/14/mondavi-center-20th-anniversary-gala-photos.html)

  2. Well put, as an employee of the institution for decades and retiree, I was witness to this Chancellor’s behavior since the 80s.
    Memos and later emails were sent out before election of National, Local and State races to “encourage” employees and students to “vote for this or that” with the veiled threat there would be layoffs if it did not go their way.
    As an employee, color and lack of competence became the norm as people were brought in from other countries to “supervise” long time employees without trying except to not get sued.
    The Nepotism ran rampant from the Chancellors on down to make sure everyone had a stake in the outcome, while foreign students became more entrenched in student government to intimidate and threaten anyone not agreeing..
    I am glad to be out of that rathole.

    1. Thank you for this, Tim Gilbert, your post contributes to a hands-on understanding and close-up view of how this stuff actually works and why it has become so apparently out of control.

  3. Chancellor May is ignorant on freedom of expression but he’s an expert on being racist black supremacist.

  4. Oh, if ONLY our universities could be populated by the sort of people this thoughtful and eloquent former student, current employee of UC Davis, and opinion piece writer is. Very glad we had the opportunity to read it.
    As for Chancellor May, how dare a University of California Chancellor use his position and power to so dramatically mischaracterize a person and speaker such as Charlie Kirk. The man and this event must have been unrecognizable to anyone attending, given the radically false and fan-flaming buildup by Chancellor May.

  5. Listening to the Democrats is like listening to Hitler’s Department of Propaganda. The sooner people realize that everything the Democrats say is the opposite of reality, the better off we will be as a society.

  6. It’s disheartening that people such as May continue to erode universities all across this nation, they continue to believe they are the purveyors of high moral standards, nothing could be further from the truth! They seek to destroy what this nation was built on FREEDOM for ALL, not just for a certain few, and yet the future generation of this nation continue to be indoctrinated to hate this nation, free thought & robust debate be damn.

  7. Anytime a POS opens an umbrella, they should be thrown in jail, for being the Democrat/Communist brown shirt terrorist they are

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