Michigan State University Professor Joseph Guzman is taking a stand for free and open discourse in academia after being targeted by students for being a Latino who proudly supports Donald Trump.
Guzman recalls the first day of the fall semester when students passed around a flier which contained a picture of Guzman at a Trump rally. Guzman, who is statewide co-chair for Trump’s Michigan campaign and a member of Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory, was taken back by the student’s actions.
“There were students in my first lecture that were handing out flyers that I thought were offensive,” Guzman said. “They were saying things that weren’t true.”
The fliers, which were also posted throughout Michigan State’s campus, portrayed Guzman’s ethnicity and support for Donald Trump as a contradiction: “Guzman claims to represent the Hispanic community by advocating for unfair and unequal working conditions for migrant workers that place them at the mercy of predatory bosses.”
“They weren’t even part of the class,” Guzman noted about the students who disrupted his lecture. Guzman posits that these students specifically targeted him because of his political beliefs.
As a result of these incidents, Guzman has become an advocate for free and open discourse on college campuses. With his students, he now emphasizes the importance of using a college experience to learn how to engage civilly in debate with those with whom they disagree.
“One of the great things that can happen in college is that you can pick up tools and experiences and learn how to engage civilly and professionally, and I think that by trying to shut down or shame others, students are damaging that process,” he said.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org