As we have been reporting, in the wake of an effort by Golden West College professors to prevent certain audience members from asking critical and probing questions of a Islam 101 speaker on March 14, several people have bombarded the administrators of Golden West with complaints.
On the above date, a group of us attended a public event at Golden West entitled, “Islam 101”, in which the speaker, Nicole Bovey of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Orange County, a branch of the Islamic Network Group, gave a sugar-coated presentation of Islam to an audience made up mostly of Golden West students. When some of us, following the protocol for asking questions, raised our hands, were recognized, and asked more probing questions about Islam, one of the sponsoring professors, took the first questioner outside and scolded him for asking the question.
Then, during the break, campus police appeared, and took another questioner outside and told him that he couldn’t ask questions. Though there was no physical force used and everyone was allowed to remain, it was a classic police state response that nobody should expect in the United States of America. I should stress that there was absolutely no disruption on our part. We were merely asking tough questions that the hapless Ms Bovey was unable or unwilling to answer in any straightforward manner. As it was, one of the professors came to her rescue an hour before the scheduled end of the event and announced the close of the evening’s activities.
This was followed by a series of exchanges via email between many of us and Golden West President Wes Bryan, Coast Community College Chancellor John Weisphennig, and college trustees. One letter, penned by this writer, was co-signed by dozens of community members who were as upset as we were about the events of March 14.
To this point, we have received half-hearted apologies from the President of Golden West, Mr. Bryan, who is retiring. The apologies only concern closing the event early, but he has made no mention of the campus police being called.
In addition to our complaints, we have sent Golden West a request for the college to host an alternative speaker who would present Golden West students with a different, more critical view of Islam. I can't mention any names at this point, but we are pursuing the matter vigorously. Up to now, we have been told that there were problems with room availability and that "class meetings" have been booked for the remainder of the academic year.
Last week, (April 11) a colleague sent a message to Weisphennig with the above request. On April 13, Weisphennig sent a reply to the effect that he had forwarded the request to Bryan to see if something could be arranged for the spring. As of this writing, there has been no further reply.
Now I would think that if the chancellor and the president wanted to make this happen, it would be arranged very quickly.
In addition, we have learned through very reliable inside sources that Golden West is (surprise) a bastion of left-wing ideology, where conservative thinking is met with hostility. Our own experience at Golden West on March 14 would seem to confirm that.
So what we have to this point from Golden West is an apology from the president that the event was concluded prematurely before everyone had a chance to ask questions. There has been no apology for a professor calling a questioner outside and scolding him for his question. There has been no apology for campus police being summoned and another questioner being taken outside to be told that he can't ask questions. In short, no apology for using police state tactics to take away people's First Amendment rights. This cannot stand.
To those who have written to Golden West or added your names to our letter, we are grateful. The battle is not over, however. Golden West is apparently hoping that we will go away and the incident will fade away and be forgotten. It is also my suspicion that Golden West has no intention of allowing one of our speakers to come and give a different presentation on Islam, not based on hatred of Muslims, rather based on simple, verifiable facts. If that is the case, then all of our voices must be heard. Once again, we provide you with contact information for the appropriate officials. Please let them know politely that they need to respect the First Amendment of those who come to their campus and that they should expose their students to all points of view regarding important issues of the day.
The president of Golden West College is Wes Bryan. Email: [email protected]
Phone #: 714 895 8101.
Golden West College is part of the Coast Community College District. The chancellor is John Weisphennig. His email is: [email protected]
They also have a board of regents whose contact info can be found HERE.