Guest Commentary Opinion

Guest column: GOP debate isn’t good for UH

Aside from the logistical nightmare that the Republican National Committee presidential debate will bring to parking Thursday — for which students and employees pay — there is the ethical question of whether the debate is a wise decision for such a diverse campus.

This is particularly significant given the inflammatory remarks made by the leading candidates against many minority groups who are largely represented on campus.

Those supporting the RNC debate at UH say it is a sign that the University is embracing the fluidity of free speech rights. That to invite such candidates who have demonstrated public stances, which have also been assaulted by the mainstream press as racist, bigoted, misogynistic and Islamophobic, is to demonstrate a tolerance for the uglier forms of free speech. This helps inculcate students a deeper understanding of true freedom, and that to tolerate such intolerance somehow elevates us and adds meaningfully to the collegiate learning experience.

I respectfully disagree.

It’s important to remember that with any rights, we all too frequently forget, come duties. In ethics this is known as the correlativity of rights and duties: two sides of the same coin. But “duties” get very little play in the popular imagination.

The mere possession of a right is not enough in a free and democratic society. One must also demonstrate his mature appreciation for that right, ethically and morally, and not abuse it in the name of liberty. Using one’s free speech rights in order to incite rioting or mob rule, for example, is not guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Yet this is exactly what Donald Trump has done to a scandalous degree at more than one of his campaign rallies, causing some citizens to physically attack others simply for disagreeing with the candidates’ position.

Consider, for example, last October’s Trump rally in Miami, where a student protester was savagely set upon and dragged to the ground by his collar and then kicked as Trump looked on and his supporters cheered.

Then, at Trump’s November campaign rally in Birmingham, when a Black Lives Matter protester and local student was physically assaulted, which Trump not only encouraged during the event, but later justified, telling a reporter, “Maybe (he) should have been roughed up. It was disgusting what he was doing.”

What is to be gained by exposing UH students to a discourse on a public stage involving practitioners of language which divides and inflames citizens to mob rule and baser instincts rather than unify them? What elevated lesson could UH students possibly extract from watching such a display of incivility which has typically characterized the RNC debates and rallies thus far?

A positive image worthy of an institution as co-ed and ethnically diverse as UH with its Tier One aspirations? I think not.

Alex Colvin is the president of Gun Free UH and a history senior.


  • It seems you are saying that because you disagree with some of the statements made by the participating candidates that the university should not even play host to the event. That is such a narrow minded view. Would you have the same opinion if the Democratic debate was being held on our campus? It’s hypocritical to say that we shouldn’t welcome the debate because some of our students might not agree with the messages. What about those that do?

    • Where is the virtue in tolerating the intolerable and supporting the insufferable? Ought a slave tolerate his master and be more open-minded to his chattlehood, thinking of the masters’ needs for field labor and less of his own suffering? How dare those who shun bigotry and hate speak out. Where is their compassion, their empathy? Where indeed.

      • Alex, please. Our school is just the host of the debate. That’s all. We are just the venue. Nobody is going to think poorly of the school school, or of you because of anything that any of the candidates say…

  • The students are taking this way too personally. UH is merely the venue and nothing else. The only benefit is a chance to show off the campus and get paid for it. To think it anything else is a delusion.

    • Yes, as odd as it must seem, what happens to us, what disrupts parking, classes and how the nation views us institutionally and how this debate will impact that reputation does actually matter to those of us spending tends of thousands of dollars to attend. I suppose one could reduce it all cynically, to just dollars and cents, but some of us try to see the more nuanced shades. Funny how that works.

  • If you aren’t happy about it then there is an easy solution: don’t go. This article seems to be going against what many liberals preach (don’t judge a certain group by one bad apple) by saying that we shouldn’t have the debate because the current frontrunner has exercised his first-amendment right in ways that YOU do not like, and therefore all of the candidates are bad. Seems a little hypocritical, doesn’t it? Because you do not approve of the frontrunner, and probably all conservative beliefs, you argue that we should not care about the many students and faculty who are conservative and do care about those beliefs. While you think your tuition money is being wasted, I think just the opposite. It is an honor to even be considered as a host for either party’s debate, try not to lose sight of that, as well as, the many good things that will be brought along with it (campus exposure, economic benefits, etc). While you think it is an embarrassment to host the republican debate at UH, I only hope that UH is not embarrassed on national television by sheltered, narrow-minded, hypocritical, overly-sensitive, narcissistic people like you. So, as a republican who will be in attendance tomorrow night, I apologize for intruding on your safe space, but I hope that by not getting your way you realize that the real world does not care about you or your feelings.

    • As I point out, rights have duties. Spewing hate is not a guaranteed right; and tolerating it is not exercising open-mindedness, it’s a willingness to tolerate the intolerable. And there is no choice to refrain from a thing when that choice is not offered to begin with. That’s called exclusion. The honor is not widely felt, except by those who think jingoism is acceptable civil behavior. We quite obviously disagree on what passes for honorable.

  • With free speech, either all of it is ok or none of it is ok. Alex Colvin is one of the most intolerant people I have ever exchanged words with and I can’t believe that the daily cougar lets this nut write articles for them.

    • That’s because your idea of free speech incorporates an idea that one has an inalienable right to a lack of self-control or self-restraint, including the right to insult, badger, and harass others without consequences. You think one should never be held accountable for anything. That is a very libertarian idea masquerading as “liberty”; no rules; just be. No controls, no laws, just exists and do whatever you fancy. And if anyone doesn’t agree,well, then just insult them or accuse them of being unjust or against liberty or un-American, or a or a “poison” to civil society. As I point out, which you’ve obviously chose to ignore. Rights are two-fold. The flip side is DUTY. But that gets, as I say, very little play in the popular imagination. Thanks for demonstrating brilliantly how that works. And one has no duty to tolerate the intolerable any more than the slave has a duty to tolerate his chattlehood. Only tyrants and autocrats think a slave is wrong to protest his servitude.

      • Never insulted anyone with different views. I insult people who insult people for having different views, like you. The fact that you insult, badger, and harass people in the comment sections is funny, since your so against it. Everyone has the right to say whatever they want whenever they want. I defend your right to be a D-bag. It’s wrong for you to want to censor people.

        • “Everyone has the right to say whatever they want whenever they want.” That is postmodern libertarianism in a nutshell — except is also extends to freedoms of every imaginable sort, far beyond mere speech. The founders would actually disagree, not that I expect you to understand how they thought or what “liberty” meant to the 18th century Diest mind in a highly hierarchically stratified culture.

          • It’s not like you take the founder’s word for gospel either, i.e. second amendment. Thankfully your in a small minority against free speech.

            • You think guns on campus are a liberty, when they, in fact, oppress academic freedom (free speech,) as is already manifesting itself on campus. In reality what you support is oppression and try to pass that off as some acceptable form of freedom by wrapping yourself in some bizarre idea of what the 2nd amendment means. Your responses make this abundantly clear. You are not a friend to liberty; you’re its antagonist.

              • I’ve always stated that conceal carry is a privilege, not a right. Actually, social justice warriors are trying to silence campuses more than campus carry ever could.

                • I don’t speak for “social justice” warriors, whatever that means. But if you think there is something wrong with fighting for what is fair in what’s supposed to be a democratic society against those who would usurp citizen’s rights to redress against a hostile and indifferent state legislature and participatory governance, I can suggest a few cultures where that does not exist. In some places, just bad mouthing the government will get you put in jail and in others, killed. A citizenry tastes liberty only to that degree to which it tolerates its own oppression. And some forms are worst than others, but no form is truly beneficial, or should be. By the same token, no freedom is so inaliable that it ought be allowed to run unrestrained like a wild beast. Rights, likewise, have limits. The trick is to not let them turn into cudgels. That’s called balance.

                  • Never said you spoke for them! Stop the, redirect then rant, dialogue. SJWs are running rampant throughout universities and censoring speech. I noticed the UH senate put those guidelines up for professors to not “cover sensitive topics.”

                    • What does a UH FS PP presentation have to do with your notion of SJ “warriors.” That’s disjointed. You don’t seem to have a point except to disagree with anyone who thinks promoting gun violence on a college campus is a bad idea which Campus Carry certainly does. By removing the restraints that would prevent ordinary students from having access to lethal weapons it encourages them to use them, instead, legally or otherwise. And no 1-day of “training” consisting of a 25-word quiz (no studying needed) and a 1/2 hour at the shooting rage (no experience need) to earn a C grade to get a CHL is Texas can alter that. The NICS background system that is entirely voluntary by states is a joke, full of holes, and who cares if you’re finger printed? So is your average rent-a-cop. no re-direct here. Our purposes is to denounce an unjust law and to see it repealed.

                    • You said guns restrict free speech, the UH senate suggested restricting free speech in the classrooms, this is out of fear. Ya’ll are the only ones advocating for restricted free speech. 1/2 hour at the shooting range actually puts you on par w/ a cop btw. Campus carry will make it unsafe for criminals not students.

                    • It’s a legitimate fear. For the same reason we have lights as crosswalks to stop cars. You’re idea of freedom and liberty would remove all restraints and just have everyone driving every which way, and damn the consequences, because only the drivers’ rights to pass freely along the road in whatever way they wish at whatever speed they choose ought to be considered. This was exactly the scerio when cars first came along and is exactly where the NRA and ALEC want to take us with guns. One small problem, because of legitimate safty concerns, cars, today, are highly regulated. Just as guns should be — especially in sensitive places like a campus where they do not belong no matter what the propagandists claim who deliberately ignore both history and other forms of empirical evidence to the contrary. ..

                    • Funny how when I made a comparison to cars, you dismissed it as invalid. And yes, guns need more restrictions as far as who gets them. Conceal carry hasn’t proved to be legitimate threat to public safety, which is why the people want campus carry. The only sensitivity on campus is the people opposed to this, they have proven they cant keep their cool.

                    • It’s not that you made one; it was HOW you made it. As for knowing whether students pose no “legitimate” threat; that is unknown because the data is unknown. However the incident rates of accidental an deliberate shooting by members of the general public with CHL is better understood. However, there are no records kept by campus police regarding a student’s CHL status when a gun-related incident is reported. Registries are forbidden and such details are not part of standard investigations. That’s much we do know. Our own UH Police Chief made that clear here at our Open Forum when some SCC pseudo-intellectual tried to make that same baseless assertion using misapplied DPS stats. Sorry, their database doesn’t even address CHLs among college students; no such database does. Duh. Ergo, trying to claim a thing has not occurred because there is no data is rather like saying there was no human activity in the Dark Ages because there are so few actual written records from the period. IOW, the absence of evidence of a thing does not mean that thing is not occurring. It means it has not been well recorded. (That’s why they’re called “Dark” ) For the same reasons the Dark Ages are so poorly understood, so too can no one claim with any authority (except armatures,) that CHL carriers are harmless and completely “law-abiding” on campus. Such blanket statements are mindless precisely because they are without any quantifiable basis.

                    • The only assertion being made is if CHL holders were a problem in the public, then it would have been addressed already. There’s obviously a “registry” of CHL holders, thats how we renew them. Colleges can’t have them, because 1) its none of their business, and 2) Some people from the left might want to use the list to harass them.

                    • 1. The are no registries on college campuses. In Texas they are not permitted, thanks to S.B. 11. Therefore, let me replete, there is no way to determine whether a person on campus with a gun is a CHL holder or not.
                      2. Campus police do not record the status of a person’s CHL permit -or lack thereof — when incidents involving guns on campus are reported. Ergo there is no way, using campus police reports, to determine in any meaningful way the general lawfulness or unlawfulness of campus CHL carriers. That data does not exist. Trying to use DPS data to extrapolate for an entirely different cohort is just analytically weird. Trying to deduce a thing without at least some kind of data on which to base it is just flat dishonest, although that doesn’t stop SCC parrots from doing so. DPS records do not speak to campus CHL rates because DPS is a different jurisdiction entirely and Texas DPS data has no category for campus CHL holders. Not sure what you mean by “already.” There have been many reports of folks misfiring and accidentally using their weapons, some cases being more injurious than others. Some resulting in needless death just through stupidity or negligence. Having a CHL licence would not prohibit that in any way, any more than having a driver’s licence prohibits dumb car accidents or accidental death due to negligence. And there are often reports of folks in the general public with CHLs who misuse their guns. Almost daily nowadays. But those are newspaper accounts, not police of DPS records. Sometimes they’re compiled into reports. Two different sources..One is a primary source, the other secondary.

                    • Alex, CHL holders have licenses. Your not allowed to have your weapon visible. If it is seen, a cop can lawfully ask you for Concealed handgun license (CHL) which has an expiration date. And you actually have to be qualified at the range to renew your CHL.

                    • From an CHL instructor’s website which links from the DPS site:
                      Texas Concealed Handgun License Renewals

                      “As of September 1, 2013 class time and range time not required for CHL renewals.”

                      ALSO, the DPS makes no mention of range requirements for renewals and notes that extant fingerprints, etc, will be used. (unless you’ve done something to warrant otherwise.)

                    • Also from the DPS FAQ Page:

                      ” 26. Is there a requirement to take a continuing education course before I can renew my Texas License to Carry a Handgun (LTC)?

                      Per HB 48 (83rd Legislature), continuing education is no longer required for LTC renewal. License holders will simply apply online and submit the supporting documents for discounted fees or special conditions.

                    • Yes, the requirements have been so dumbed down, thanks to laws the majority do not want, any clod in Texas can now own and carry a lethal weapon around. Why should that be of concern to anyone?

                    • You still have to pass the initial scrutiny. More gun control should limit the potential of trouble makers getting a CHL, which I advocate for. Also, 6 states don’t even require a permit to conceal carry. Where are the horror stories? Where are the massive murder rates in these states? Your obviously not the majority in this state bud.

                    • I belive what you call “scrutiny” has already been addressed which even you note doesn’t even apply in 6 states. . And I suggest you visit a few emergency rooms and speak to nurses, doctors, and speak to police and crime scene janitors about the carnage regarding gun violence — especially of the type causes by mishandling of firearms. Not everything that happens ends up on the Six O’Clock. However to suggest gun violence is not at an all time high , i.e. “where ae the horror stories” is to be willing to be oblivious to them, and to be complicit in allowing them to continue. So be it.

                    • We’re talking about CHL holders, not thugs.

                      “I belive what you call “scrutiny” has already been addressed which even you note doesn’t even apply in 6 states.”

                      Right, where are the statistics for crime in that state compared to California? The majority of self-defense shootings occur within 15 ft. For a CHL you have to demonstrate proficiency for up to 15YDS. We actually fire more rounds than an individual qualifying at the police academy during our qual. So, technically we are more qualified than graduating police cadets.

                      “reveals a willingness to be oblivious to it in the service of some higher aim which places little value on human life and more value on an inanimate but lethal weapon”

                      Which is why I advocate for more gun control. Accidental deaths and gang related shootings have nothing to do w/ CHL holders.

                      All of your pretentious rants can’t even stand up to basic,common sense scrutiny.

                    • Again, you’re simply ignoring published reports, which I’ve already mentioned. You want “stats” but, as I’ve pointed out which you choose to ignore, that data is not captured in campus police reports. Why do you choose to ignore this reality and continue to ask for what is not available? If, as you claim, you”advocate” for controls why are you not advocating for registries — a database by which said stats could be based? You make no sense.

    • We have an entire department devoted to Women’s Studies. You have a problem with that? Ever met any of the people from that department? Many are distinguished scholars, and have had classes with them. Met any students from the BLM movement, many are scholarship winners with excellent academic credentials. Beyond your pathetic racist and chauvinistic attitude, what’s your point?

      • Nice redirect. l’ll take that as a yes. Ask my Marine brethren who was assaulted my BLM supporters, what he thinks about them. I actually didn’t say anything regarding race of gender. I assumed since your against free speech you align with feminist extremism and the SJWs and wouldn’t mind if one of there events congested daily operations at UH.

        • You implied a negative connotation to both rather monolithically. “BLM or modern-feminist convention” Again, you equate being intolerant of intolerable behavior as being unpatriotic. This is the standard rebuttal of the closed-minded. And you invoked your brother’s misfortune as a way to paint an entire movement as a collection of thugs and hoodlums, which it is not. The racist implication there, again, are rather obvious; us vs. them. You apparently are unable to see that one cannot understand a tree or the variety of the species if all he sees is a single leaf or the wind whipping through a few branches of one tree and has convinced himself that’s the sum of all trees. But don’t let that myopia keep you from characterizing the BLM movement or Women’s Studies or what either represent more broadly. Do continue to castigate both as if your remarks carry any truth. They say much more about you than anything.

          • I didn’t characterize any movements or insinuate any connotation . I assumed that you support these movements, which you probably do. I partly support some of what BLM wants to achieve. You are intolerant of free speech. You claim Trump causes violence, well I can reasonably claim that BLM causes violence. It is intolerable to be intolerant towards free speech.

            • Kelly:
              I was just noticing your comments on the Students for Concealed Carry UH chapter FB page. rather insightful, I must say:
              Kelly Whalen: Ive gone back and forth with this organization on disqus. I still cant get them to argue against the practicality of campus carry. Its all about the NRA with them. They’ve also talked down about the military and told someone to go pour peroxide in their eyes.

              Yesterday at 12:26am

              Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, UH Chapter:
              “We have seen that too, and we never advocate for those who disagree with us to permanently blind themselves, let alone hurt themselves in any way, shape, or form.

              He (not them) refuses to debate the details of campus carry and just attacks either this group (which is fully student and professor funded and backed), or posts about some conspiracy theory he has about guns only being bought because people are scared.”
              Very insightful indeed. Nice to know who you’re allied with. I always appreciate know who I’m dealing with, especially how information is mangled to present a particular perspective.

              We’ve done months of research on SCC, in public records and reliable published sources looking into their libertarian ties with groups such as the Leadership Institute,(Tea Party) the Students for Liberty, (libertarian) Campus Reform, (an LI project,) and Project Veritas. (another LI supported project,) not to mention various gun extremists groups, and state lawmakers behind Campus carry with ALEC and NRA ties, as well as the various methods of “activism” SCC engages in nationally, including but not limited to: lawsuits against colleges, flattering online reports about spying ring activities, and in other instances outright lying to advance their agenda and and gun violence. Very interesting stuff. We will at some point release our findings which will be fully cited but rather lengthy.

              • Oh no I’m Scared!!! The SCC has been objective every instance I see them comment, unlike you. I wasn’t born with the fear gene like you, beta male.

                  • Right, cause labeling someone a racist and bigot for suggesting you support BLM and feminist extremism is objective.

                    • I’ve seen no evidence of extremism at my school either among students engaged in Women’s Studies or African American studies or the various activities they engage in, which you would know if you were actually a student here rather than an outside commentor looking in judgmentally. In fact, UH is rather tame about protests, although that is slowly changing. Libertarians, however, generally view intellectual pursuits outside what they view as more wholesome WASPy subject matter as dirty socialism — whatever that’s suppose to mean. So be it.

                    • When did I say these movments were at UH? I am a student. Milo yiannopolous is touring universities all over the country to combat radical feminism, who think free speech should be censored, juat like you do. I do think UH is very good about its protests. I half expect to be yelled at by a BLM member everyday.

                    • We have very different ideas about what constitutes censorship, too. Having worked in the media as a investigative crime reporter (now retired,) I know from whence I speak.

                    • And yet, despite the fact that having guns on a college campus chills academic freedom doing exactly the thing you claim to oppose, you support having guns on campus. You contradict yourself without even knowing it. Every academic in Texas has said guns on campus will have a chilling effect on academic freedom which, among other things, involves the free exchange of ideas in a classroom — some rather heatedly so. Yet, even as I write this, instructors are leaving to more protected schools even as their colleagues they leave behind formulate plans to avoid certain topics or drop them entirely from their curricula, fearing some topics may be a tipping point for some armed student. You cannot be an antagonist to censorship when you support the very mechanism which allows it in a college setting. You reveal your own shameful hypocrisy trying to.

                    • Why do you think I support Trump? Right, and the way you handle media is completely professional.

                    • I was referring to how Trump views media which is combatively and censoriously and how that will likely play out if he were elected. If you prefer that methodology, good luck trying to work that into a stance supporting “free speech”. The two are incompatible.

            • BLM members are not running for president, and Trump has no business allowing his rally members to attack other citizens. Period. He supposed to be in control and if not, certainly not goad it on. But he’s often made remarks in such a away to INCITE this savagery, which is not Constitutionally protected, and then makes pathetic excuses afterward. If this is your idea of “free speech” than you obviously support his kind of barbarism. Every one of his rallies has been an exercise in bullying some class or race either from the podium or inciting it among his followers, and in some cases afterwards. His toxic behavior toward Americans at his rallies are indefensible.

              • Trump nor anyone is responsible for the actions of other. It’s actually only illegal to cause mass panic, which Trump is far from. I could easily use your logic towards the SJWs groups but I will not, unless you request it.

  • I’m an alumni, I’m also Mexican. I’ll never understand why upper middle class white people feel the need to be offended on behalf of minorities. I really don’t support any of the Republican candidates, but I welcome the topics they are discussing even if they’re uncomfortable to talk about. Yes racism is still an issue, but to call the entire republican party racist just because you disagree with their immigration stance is intellectually lazy.

Leave a Comment