As Antifa violence sweeps college campuses across the nation, there is hope in knowing some college students are rejecting the extreme tactics of the far-left.
In an op-ed from the editors of The New Paltz Oracle titled “This Isn’t Berkeley,” the official student newspaper of SUNY New Paltz condemned the presence of Antifa, which it characterizes as “a far-left paramilitary group,” on their campus.
Recounting the “unhinged” violent actions of Antifa at UC Berkeley – which led to $100,000 in property damage – the student editorial board responded to the presence of Antifa at a protest against “perceived mistreatment of adjunct professors by the campus administration.” Antifa joined the May 1 protest, demonstrating against President Trump’s administration.
Given this important context, we at The New Paltz Oracle must express how dismayed and disappointed we are by the presence of Antifa on our own campus. As advocates of free speech and intellectual diversity, we condemn the use of violence in the name of any cause, even anti-fascism. We absolutely do not approve of fascism, but Antifa’s methods, which rely heavily on intimidation and shutting down those whom they disagree with, have the potential to make the SUNY New Paltz campus an unsafe place.
The paper notes there are “enough issues” with maintaining the free exchange of different ideas on college campuses and, “Allowing a far-left wing paramilitary group to patrol campus does not help achieve that cause.”
Antifa protesters have a nasty habit of turning their “protests” into full blown riots – destroying property, setting fires alight, and physically assaulting those they disagree with.
“Living in the era of increased conflict on college campuses due to political partisanship and the debate over intellectual diversity, we assert that everyone should feel welcome to speak openly,” the Oracle editors write. “No one should be silenced from expressing their views, not even Antifa, but it is a result of their aggressive behavior on other campuses that we must sound the alarm when they show up at SUNY New Paltz.”
The editorial board of The New Paltz Oracle should be congratulated for defending free speech against political violence. Hopefully other student groups across America will do the same.