In Nick Welsh’s recent wrap-up of the November 3 election results, I am described (in my losing bid for a trustee’s seat at SBCC) as “the Joan of Arc of the conservative right.”
No. No. No. I resent being characterized as a martyr. I have never comported myself as such. Throughout the campaign and in defeat, I stood tall, praised my opponent, and presented myself as the hopeful person I am, in this case optimistic for our beloved college.
I stood up for the First Amendment. That was the issue for me back in early 2019 in the wake of the Pledge of Allegiance incident during public comment. While it’s true that the conservative media pretty much solely covered the story, where was the Indy? The Los Angeles Times? Every American journalist should be mightily concerned when the First Amendment is threatened. Where were you? Or are you selective in the application of those protections?
That is why I sued the college, and not for the January 2019 pledge incident, but what took place in the Academic Senate several months later. The presider of the meeting (ironically, herself a journalist) silenced me as I attempted to make public comment in a public meeting. As the room emptied and I stood alone at the podium, former colleagues laughed.
Our most precious right — the right to speak freely and without intimidation — was violated that day. On an American college campus. Chew on that one.
I am no martyr. As a daughter of this country, I had a duty to stand up to defend that right. You will recall that my lawsuit did not include monetary damages. I paid out of pocket. My concern was solely that Santa Barbara City College honor the rights contained in the United States Constitution.
The college lawyers understood what occurred and the violation of federal protections. That’s why the college settled prior to court. The college signed a legal document acknowledging the violation.
I am proud that my action resulted in the protection of free speech on that campus for all others. That doesn’t make me a martyr. It makes me an American. Nor are the protections contained in the Bill of Rights “conservative” values. They are basic human rights that protect every person standing on American soil, regardless of citizenship status or station in life. It even protects reporters.