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Letter: Student responds to allegations of Islamophobia

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On Dec. 7 a letter to the editor was published in The Daily Aztec regarding CAPP fine confusion and Islamophobic tweets from members of College Republicans.

Ms. Joves wrote a defamatory statement with regards to myself, a member of the College Republicans: “Unfortunately, not all members of the SDSU College Republicans share this view. Vanessa McGoldrick, a junior majoring in Philosophy and member of the College Republicans, made Islamophobia tweets on her account.”

Promptly beforehand, Ms. Joves said the SDSU College Republicans’ statement was significant and important, and that the chair of the College Republicans reached out to the Muslim Student Association to “express a willingness to help.”

I understand while Ms. Joves and many others are disgusted by my personal tweets in light of the robbery on campus in which a Muslim woman was targeted, as a news source for the student body, staff, and any who wish to read The Daily Aztec, it is expected that ethics and journalistic integrity remain the standard.

For Ms. Joves to state that I, being a member of the SDSU College Republicans, do not share the “willingness to help” the Muslim Student Association, or that I do not hold the views expressed in the statement condemning the robbery, is defamatory.

Ms. Joves fails to connect my personal tweets to me, as a member of the College Republicans, not condemning the robbery.

The tweets: can be interpreted however one chooses (though I failed to distinguish between Islam and radical Islamic terrorism in those tweets) even to the extent of Islamophobia.

A phobia is an irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation. I have a right to a fear of spiders, pine-scented candles, or even Islam if I so choose. My tweet of such fear on Twitter is protected under free speech, and was on a private platform.

Look at the date of the tweets. July 14 was the date I made the tweets. Whether it be July 14 of this year last year or even the previous couple years…it would make no intellectual or logical difference because I joined the College Republicans on the day of our official Fall 2016 meeting, Sept. 1 and 8. My opinion, whether I defend them or not, has little to do with the present and prospective statements I release on behalf of the SDSU College Republicans. They have no relevancy to my current membership and role in student politics since I officially joined the club.

Defamation is a false statement that is published and injurious to the victim’s reputation.

The statement was false. For Ms. Joves to state that I, being a member of the SDSU College Republicans do not share the “willingness to help” the Muslim Student Association, or that I do not hold the views expressed in the statement condemning the robbery, is defamatory.

To be considered defamation, “the alleged defamatory statement must be presented as a fact and not as an opinion. However, an opinion can be considered a fact statement if a reasonable person would have interpreted it as such,” (HG Legal Resources, 2016). I do acknowledge this article was published under The Daily Aztec’s Opinion section, however under reasonability, student and staff have interpreted it as such, as its intent was.

The statement has the likely potential of damaging current affiliations and ties amongst my peers, professors, and my ability to have an inclusive and non-threatening interaction with clubs, volunteer, activism, etc. All of which, are crucial for the totality of my undergraduate experience. 

Though I agree with Ms. Joves on the prospect of promoting kindness and unity, the opinion piece was not just that. It was a wrongful attack on personal tweets that I do not hold accountable for my position currently with the involvement of SDSU College Republicans and one that has no credibility given the circumstances of time (sic).

I respect The Daily Aztec, but defamation is shameful. Please remove the statement.

Vanessa McGoldrick is a student majoring in philosophy and member of the SDSU College Republicans

Editor’s Note: The letter by Dawn Joves was fact checked before publication. The Daily Aztec stands by its decision to publish it.

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4 Responses to “Letter: Student responds to allegations of Islamophobia”

  1. Gavin Laird on December 19th, 2016 12:00 am

    lol fact checking, good one Daily Aztec.

  2. Amy J. on December 20th, 2016 6:42 am

    This response is quite comical, as it further supports the original post. I recommend that you take a closer look.

    Ms. McGoldrick, you’re saying that 1) your tweets can be interpreted however a reader interprets it, even to the extent of Islamophobic, especially since you failed to distinguish Islam from radical Islamic terrorism. 2) You’re preaching about your 1st Amendment right to tweet whatever opinions you have, yet you’re asking the Daily Aztec to take down an article posted in the “Opinions” section of the site.

  3. Vanessa on December 22nd, 2016 1:29 am

    Defamation is not protected by the First.

  4. Scott Szafranski on December 21st, 2016 11:51 pm

    Stand by your “fact-checked” article all you want, there’s no doubt that taking Vanessa’s tweet out of context and using it to imply she does not condemn violence or harassment against Muslims is unfair. It must make Ms. Joves feel good about herself to cherry-pick statements from others in order to paint them in a negative light – because it appears that to her it’s not actually about us coming together, it’s about coming out on top.

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