The facts published in the Washington Examiner May 18 article, “California professor bans college Republicans from Women’s History Month events” are simply erroneous. Orange Coast College has no Republicans club “bans” and Professor Alabi did not ban any person or group from attending an open “Women’s History Month” event.
Students from the Orange Coast College Republicans club did, in fact, attempt to disrupt a “Curl Talk,” invitation-only event which was the second meeting of an African American women’s round table discussion designed to provide a compassionate, private venue for women of color to discuss experiences related to their hair. On the invitation, this round table discussion was promoted as confidential, “we promise it will stay just between ‘curl’ friends.”
Why would a group of men from the Republicans club of Orange Coast College feel compelled to disrupt a private and personal discussion for minority women? This is the same Republicans club which planned the secret filming of OCC professors and disrupted a Planned Parenthood demonstration at congresswoman Mimi Walters office on March 24.
Additionally, these are also the same students who attended the Orange Coast College Feminist club meetings and the Planned Parenthood meetings with the intention of intimidating the students whom they disagreed with. These club members also, allegedly, stood outside the (gay) pride club meeting identifying students who attended.
The Republicans club of Orange Coast College needs to learn some basic rules of civility and respect, the foundation of a democratic society. I too am a Republican, however, I find the behavior of these club members indefensible. Rather than condone their tendency to bully groups of students who disagree with them, we all need to model the behavior we wish to see in these students. We need to reject the Republicans club’s attempts to intimidate others and demonstrate that honorable people may disagree with the opinions of other citizens.
We should never, in our areas of disagreement, actively try to intimidate others. If a group of African American women wish to have a private discussion about their hair, they should be able to do so without fear of intimidation. If gay, lesbian and transgender students have a club meeting, they should not have young Republicans standing outside the meeting in an effort to bully and intimidate.
This small group of young and impressionable Republicans club students are acting out with attention-getting behavior. Rather than condone this group’s bad behavior, it is up to all responsible Americans to send an unambiguous message that bullying women of color, supporters of Planned Parenthood and other LGBT students are unacceptable.
Robert Schneiderman, Faculty Member