Press "Enter" to skip to content

Potential Lawsuit Against SGA Prompts Vote Over First Amendment

by Christopher Marinelli

After much political controversy regarding concerns of hate speech within the Student Government Association (SGA), The SGA approved a $541 allocation for the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) in order to bring in Bruce Fein in a 20-9 vote.

Members of SGA had concerned of bringing in Fein due to his involvement with the Turkish government, of which members of the SGA had claimed he denied the Armenian Genocide of happening.

President of YAL Brian Pyor discredited this assumption stating, “He’s an expert with foreign policy on ending over seas aggression, as a really high profile lawyer he had done some work representing the Turkish government. As a lawyer on international law, on regular law, individual words carry different repercussions legally. He was arguing the term ‘genocide,’ does not apply in this case.”

Pyor affirmed Fein’s knowledge of the matter and continued, “It absolutely happened, he knows there was a mass killing.”

Fein wrote in an article published in The Huffington Post, “Not a single one of those deaths necessarily falls within the definition of genocide in the authoritative Genocide Convention of 1948. It requires proof that the accused was responsible for the physical destruction of a group in whole or in substantial part specifically because of their race, nationality, religion or ethnicity.”

“Armenians have a genuine tale of woe. It largely overlaps with the tale of tragedy and suffering that can be told by Ottoman Muslims during the war years,” added Pyor.

Ed Corey spoke against bringing Fein to campus saying, “We did not want to allocate funds to that speaker due to concerns that he is known to make notes on certain things. He discounts it as a serious political event.”

The University Attorney Carolyn Magnan came to the SGA meeting in order to supply legal console after YAL threatened to sue the school if SGA chose to deny Fein. “There is no such constitutional misnomer of hate speech. Just because something is offensive to you, does not mean that it is not protected speech,” said Magnan.

Senator Stephen Dew also commented on the allocation after asserting his own disagreement with bringing the speaker, but emphasized on the importance of free speech on campus.

“When we start to limit that, in the sense of safety or if students would be offended, it doesn’t allow us to be the full adult we’re supposed to be,” said Dew. “It’s about trying to have that debate and have that discussion. Students can protest that speaker and not go to that speaker.”

SGA also voted to freeze the Paranormal Research Societies funds after not having club money accounted for with a 18-5 vote.

Senator Eric Ott spoke against this vote due to issues not being with the club, but rather with their president.

“I don’t like to freeze clubs accounts, but with paranormal club from what I hear things have not been going good for this club,” said Ott. “Apparently the president has not been talking to his club whatsoever; there’s really a lot of chaos in the leadership of this club right now. I don’t think it’s right to freeze paranormal club when it’s clearly the issue with the president.”