By Kelly Conner
I am writing to express my strong concern and opposition to the planned speaking event featuring Charlie Kirk, which is scheduled to take place on your campus on March 14. As a concerned member of the greater community, I believe it is imperative that we take a firm stand against the spread of fascist ideologies and the promotion of hate speech in all its forms.
Mr. Kirk is known for his extremist views, which include racist, xenophobic, homophobic and misogynistic rhetoric. His ideology runs counter to the values of inclusion, diversity, and equity that are essential to the academic mission of any institution of higher learning. Permitting him to speak on your campus sends a message of implicit approval for his hateful and dangerous ideas, and it can contribute to an intimidating environment for marginalized students, staff and faculty.
Furthermore, the presence of Mr. Kirk on your campus could pose a danger to public safety. Recent history has shown (violence in Davis on Oct. 26, 2022, when Mr. Kirk tried to hold his first event) that extremist speakers can attract violent and disruptive crowds (i.e. Proud Boys), and it is the responsibility of the university to ensure the safety of all members of the community. Allowing a speaker with a history of inciting violence to address students and staff on your campus is not only irresponsible but also puts individuals at risk.
While free speech is an important right, it is also important to consider the potential consequences of provocative or contentious rhetoric. Many in the community have expressed concern that Mr. Kirk’s views and statements could incite violence or discrimination against relegated groups or individuals. In past comments, he has repeatedly called for incitement of violence. For example, Mr. Kirk recently tweeted a video calling for violence against the transgender community stating, “Trans people should be dealt with like men did in the 50s and 60s.” Furthermore, in 2020, after promoting the “Big Lie” to his millions of followers, Mr. Kirk stated, “If we allow the Democrats to steal this election, there will be another Civil War.” Is this really where we are as a society—providing an election-denying, anti-democratic fascist with a platform to speak at one of the most diverse, well-respected public universities in the country?
I urge you to reconsider your decision to host Kirk and instead prioritize the safety and well-being of your community. If this event goes on as planned, I can almost guarantee a clash between UC Davis anti-fascist students and right-wing fascists led by the Proud Boys. If this does happen, you will not only have blood on your hands, but you will have betrayed your oath to not only the students you have been sworn to protect but the surrounding Davis community.
The promotion of fascist ideologies has no place in our society, and it is imperative that we take a stand against it now more than ever. I implore you to act in the interest of the greater good and cancel this speaking event. We are in unprecedented times and sometimes unprecedented times call for unprecedented action. Now is that time. We must do better as a community. We must stand up to fascism and we must reject it in its entirety. We must not host Mr. Kirk and his hateful views in this wonderful, diverse city.
Let us instead use our platform to promote inclusion, tolerance, and respect for all members of our community.
Kelly Conner is a resident of Davis.