BGSU graduate asks university to say ‘no’ to white supremacists

To Mary Ellen Mazey and Whomever Else May Be Concerned:

I graduated from BGSU in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. During my time as a student, I was heavily involved with both the Office of Residence Life as a Resident Advisor and the Office of Admissions as a Campus Tour Guide.

Over the past few years, I have been paying close attention to the state of the world. I am writing this email regarding what I see as the rise of fascism and white supremacy within the past year or so. While white supremacy and fascism have always been with us and are embedded within many of our hallowed traditions (including higher education), the election of Donald Trump has certainly emboldened those who promote these repulsive ideologies.

It’s come to my attention that one white supremacist in particular, Richard Spencer, has been bullying his way around the Midwest, seeking to galvanize his movement and to signal to his followers that he’s managed to infiltrate the allegedly liberal bastions of higher education. My friends at the University of Michigan are currently dealing with this problem.

Time and time again, I hear of supposedly well-meaning people in authority boasting of a commitment to “free speech.” I don’t think I need to go into the details or the arguments. We are all aware of them. My takeaway is always this: those in power are more afraid of upsetting Nazis/fascists/white supremacists/Alt-Righters than they are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of the most defenseless among us. Those in power seem to be more willing to give someone like Richard Spencer a microphone than they are to give space to students, activists, and community members.

It is my sincere hope that BGSU and those charged with governing it will not be next.

I am asking the President of Bowling Green State University and whomever else is in charge of these kinds of things to take a stand against white supremacy and fascism by guaranteeing to the students and alumni of BGSU, as well as to the members of the wider Bowling Green and Northwest Ohio community, that Richard Spencer and any others like him are NOT and NEVER WILL BE welcome to utilize any facilities owned by or associated with Bowling Green State University.

If BGSU would like to take a stand for free speech, there are many opportunities to do so. Net Neutrality is unraveling as I type this email. In Washington, D.C., over 200 people are facing decades in prison for protesting Donald Trump’s inauguration. Political dissidents, students, immigrants, poor people, Black and Brown people, and queer communities are under attack, and BGSU should actively defend them.

Benjamin Busdicker

Austin, Texas