We, at GSU, are writing to express our opposition to the proposed Stephen Bannon “debate” at the University of Chicago. By approving the invitation to Bannon, the university confirms its disregard for the emotional and material well being of its student population. Bannon, whose career has been fueled by racist, anti-semitic, Islamophobic, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, and white supremacist politics, has no place at our university. It is in particularly bad faith for the university to invoke and defend Bannon’s right to freedom of expression when his white supremacist ideology and policies have already diminished the freedom of women, people of color and marginalized populations. Following on the heels of an aggressive proliferation of anti-union propaganda, the administration’s decision to grant Bannon a platform fuels a growing sense that it is committed to a perverted conception of freedom: where “freedom” in fact signifies the right of the administration to exclude the voices of the student population. Furthermore, the invitation to Bannon demonstrates a reckless lack of consideration for the larger community in which the University of Chicago is situated. Granting Bannon an outlet betrays the university’s espoused commitment to nurturing a diverse environment.
GSU endorses UofC Resists, UChicago YDSA, UChicago Socialists-ISO, and Reparations at UChicago in their ongoing organizing against the Bannon event. We believe that providing Bannon a platform contradicts the values of democracy and tolerance that the university claims to support, and for which GSU will continue to struggle.