'You Are Not Welcome Here': Conservative Students in Florida Have a New Challenge to Face

Erika Haas
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Posted: Aug 01, 2017 3:40 PM
'You Are Not Welcome Here': Conservative Students in Florida Have a New Challenge to Face

The University of Central Florida's (UCF) student government has recently appointed a new Diversity Chair, and its conservative students are less than thrilled. It’s not that Grayson Lanza is a vocal Democrat, it’s that he has zero tolerance for those with differing opinions.

According to Knight News - an independent, student-run paper - various students have accused Lanza of being hostile towards conservatives and saying that Trump-supporters have no place on UCF’s campus.

Daniel Hanna, a UCF student who voted for the current president, told the paper that he was confronted by Lanza at a pro-Trump rally on the UCF’s “free speech lawn” (that's a whole other issue we won't get into) last September.

Hanna was reportedly having a good time with friends when Lanza and other liberal students began harassing them, calling them racist and sexist (among other things) and repeatedly telling them that they’re not welcome.

“When we started debating politics, I eventually said ‘you know the great thing about this country is we can both differ regarding political views but we can openly discuss it,’” Hanna told Knight News. “Then I offered him a handshake.”

Unsurprisingly, Lanza didn’t share the same sentiment.

“He said ‘I’m not shaking your hand, I do not tolerate you and you are not welcome here,’” recalled Hanna.

In October, Lanza also reportedly posted the following message to Facebook: “And let today be a lesson to all; Trump supporters are not welcome on our campus.”

Hanna believes Lanza’s clear disgust for conservative students should disqualify him as Diversity Chair, noting that diversity of thought is just as important as diversity of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or whatever else defines students. 

“He should not be head of diversity. I do not care if someone equally as liberal as him takes the position, as long as it’s not someone who has been actively aggressive towards people who disagree with him,” Hanna told Knight News. “That is the antithesis of diversity. You can talk about diversity of skin color, religion, and sexuality all you want. But diversity of thought is a real thing too, and if you ’re just disregarding people who disagree with you, and you just want them off campus, what’s the point.”

Hanna said he reached out to the university’s Student Body President Nick Larkins to express these concerns, but never received a response.

Knight News pointed out that this isn't the first time conservatives have been discriminated against on UCF’s campus. Earlier this year, Karis Lockhart, who once served as chair of the UFC’s chapter of the College Republicans, was denied the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Governmental Affairs position.

Of course, SGA did not explicitly state that Lockhart’s political affiliation was the reason she was refused the position. However, many conservatives assume that was the case.

“The Senate body clearly didn’t care about qualifications, they only cared about the ‘R’ behind my name,” Lockhart told Campus Reform. “They do not want diversity, they just want one thought process - liberal leaning policies only.”

Lockhart, like Hanna, added, “Diversity doesn’t only pertain to skin color, religion, and gender, it also pertains to diversity of thought, and Grayson has proven both in writing and in person that he cannot tolerate opinions of others if they do not align with his.”

Sadly, UCF doesn’t appear to be the only campus in America that has a diversity problem.