Notes on Robert Spencer from the Treasurer of Student Senate
By Luke Frigon, Treasurer and President-elect of Student Senate
Dear Gettysburg College Community.
As the current Treasurer of Student Senate as well as next year’s President-elect, I feel compelled to weigh in on an issue that has our community embroiled in controversy: bringing Robert Spencer to campus. You’ve all hopefully read about him, so I’ll spare you a biography. From a purely ideological perspective, I completely disagree with everything Mr. Spencer stands for. His presence is one of hate, intolerance, bigotry, and a general lack of human compassion. Not only is he in the wrong, but actively promotes the marginalization of others, especially those who practice Islam. His presence on campus may disturb some of our community members. It may make some of us incredibly angry and disappointed with our administration. But he needs to be allowed to speak his mind. Not allowing him to do so would not only be a gross violation of his constitutional rights, but also an ignorant way to deal with conflict. If you won’t like what he is going to say, don’t scream and yell and get in his face. To do so would be the opposite of what you should do. Instead, just don’t listen to him. It’s that simple, don’t go to his talk on Wednesday. Instead, think critically about why and how we should advocate for and protect our marginalized peers. Instead, be a voice for those who cannot speak. Instead, be a friend to those who need one. The issue we face here is not new or rare, and the conflict between free speech versus hate speech is one faced by institutions all over our nation. But if we can come together as a campus to actively listen to each other and have meaningful and respectful discourse, we can listen to those who don’t feel listened to, and advocate for those who feel left behind.
And for the record, to my knowledge YAF’s funding was never “pulled.” They’ve always had access to the senate-allotted funds, and will be using them for this event. If you don’t like that fact, you should have come to the Senate meeting where they requested it. Student Senate does a lot more than many people think, and to complain about its actions while having the active capability to change or affect those actions is immature and ridiculous. Your voices need to be heard, so let them be. We meet Mondays at 7:00pm in CUB 260. I’ve also got office hours every Friday (except finals week) in Plank 106 from 10-11am. Come and talk to me.