Wow. Columbia senior Karina Garcia, Political Chair of the school’s Chicano Caucus, appeared on NPR’s Democracy Now to debate Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist. Gilchrist had been invited by the College Republicans to speak on campus, and Garcia’s group was one of many that staged an active protest at the event. On the radio show, after Garcia gave her explanation of the event, Gilchrist fled the studio.
Apparently, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly has picked up Gilchrist’s version almost immediately, gaining a questionable response from Columbia’s president (“a serious breach of academic faith”). See the transcript and/or audio at
See Garcia’s comments below….
Garcia refutes the idea that the protesters stifled Gilchrist’s free speech….
It’s ridiculous for them to have turned it around and say that it’s an issue of free speech. What we actually saw was two groups exercising their right to freedom of speech. One group was promoting hatred and violence, and the other group was loudly opposing it. We never asked for the university or for anybody, for that matter, to ban this man from speaking. He was able to reserve a hall in our auditorium. He had the security of the New York City Police Department. He had the security of Columbia University Public Safety. Nobody attacked Mr. Gilchrist.
Ms. Garcia goes on to explain the reason for the protest:
KARINA GARCIA: This isn’t an organization with ideas. These are people with guns. These are people with rifles, people that stand on the border in the middle of the desert, and they declare open hunting season on defenseless immigrant families. This isn’t a battle of ideas. Their immigration policy — and I can quote their members — is it should be it legal to shoot illegals, ‘just shoot them on sight, that’s my immigration policy.’ That’s their connections with the National Alliance, their connections with people like Barbara Coe who have said that Latinos and Central Americans, they’re a bunch of savages.
The fact of the matter is you can’t tell a documented person from an undocumented person. You can’t. They can’t. So many people have died, so many people have been tortured, so many people have been left to die in the desert because of this organization and because of the racism and the hatred that they promote and that they spread.
So when they came to our university, we were speaking to a larger crowd, not just the people in the audience who had already — who were already against them. We were speaking to the country, to other students and saying, “This organization is a racist organization. They commit violent acts against innocent people. Wherever they go, they should be challenged.”
See the transcript and/or audio at