Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: Ann Coulter appearance a victory for liberal education

Ann Coulter’s upcoming appearance is a milestone for Cal Poly. Coulter is the most renowned conservative speaker to visit the campus since then-Gov. Ronald Reagan stirred it up in the 1970s.

Yet it seems as though the left is doing everything in its power to stunt the success of Coulter’s speaking engagement Tuesday.

Liberals are the first to deride Ann’s bold statements and outspoken nature, but deep inside, they are horrified that her voice will somehow influence their peers.

Aren’t universities supposed to be open forums for free speech? This point is clearly addressed in our Mission Statement: “Cal Poly values free inquiry, cultural and intellectual diversity.” Diversity of thought should be valued as much as other types of diversity. So the administration tells us.

To support this posture, Cal Poly recently adopted the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ Making Excellence Inclusive initiative, “designed to help colleges and universities fully integrate their diversity and educational quality efforts and embed them into the core of academic mission and institutional functioning.”

I was pleased by President Armstrong’s mention of all types of diversity at the Inclusive Excellence Colloquium a couple of weeks ago.

Although the left will go out of its way to discredit her intelligence, Coulter is an intellectual in her own right:

She graduated cum laude from Cornell University School of Arts and Sciences, where she helped found the Cornell Review. She received her J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School, and was an editor of the Michigan Law Review. She later served as a litigator for the Center for Individual Rights.

Coulter is the author of seven New York Times best sellers, and backs up every claim with at least a dozen footnotes. Then again, the left would actually have to read her books to understand this concept.

In addition, Ann Coulter is an empowering figure for women. She has become successful by virtue of her intellect, and has emerged as an unyielding conservative voice. She attacks corruption where she sees it, and has something provocative to say about any and every issue. Whether or not you completely agree with her is irrelevant; she is guaranteed to spark discussion among faculty and students. And this will only reaffirm Cal Poly’s commitment to liberal (open-minded) education.

Finally, liberals denounce the event as a waste of school funds. In fact, the event was largely fundraised by the Cal Poly College Republicans, who generously decided to make the event free and open to the public. Where is the problem in this? Shouldn’t every club on campus have an equal opportunity to fundraise for dynamic speakers?

Ann Coulter’s visit marks a step in the right direction for Cal Poly. Our university cannot continue to ignore the conservative side of issues without contradicting its core mission.

Brendan Pringle is president of Cal Poly College Republicans.