Open Mind Project, Left Unity clubs seek official recognition



Alex Madajian took center stage in front of the Associated Student Government Friday when he gave a presentation seeking official recognition of his club, The Open Mind Project.

The club’s Facebook page states that it seeks to represent underrecognized views and encourage mutual respect with intellectual debates between members.

I want people who are dogmatically opposed to be pulled out of their echo chambers and into discussions,” Madajian said to the room full of student senators and public onlookers. “I want people who adamantly disagree on debates that are highly contentious to be able to be best friends.”

The student officers initially expressed safety concerns for the potential events the group plans to host, but Madajian quickly alleviated their apprehensions by expressing his devotion to civility, and received unanimous support.

Madajian told The Channels that he not only wants to promote free speech and discourse on campus, but to utilize his platform as a medium between clubs who might oppose one another ideologically, and then moderate their debates or idea exchanges.

The next speaker solidified the relevance of the Open Mind Project when Fernando Cornejo gave his presentation on his campus club, Left Unity.

“We’re mostly about mobilizing students, trying to get them more involved politically, especially locally, because there is a lot going on right now,” Cornejo said. “We want people to be more knowledgable about leftist theory.”

“The name [Left Unity] is a bit of an inside joke for people who are more well-versed on leftist politics, it’s often a joke that leftists tend to split up a lot, you know, tend to argue over small things.”

However, it’s not the clubs goal to combine the Sanders wing and the Clinton wing of the democratic party. 

“My club does not see Hillary Clinton to be a leftist member of the democratic party, actually the democratic party is not very leftist at all.”

He equivocated President Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton as “equally evil,” and cited Clinton’s support for military coups in Latin America as a reason he could never bring himself to vote for her, as Cornejo is from Chile.

It should not be duly noted that Cornejo wanted to make clear that his views don’t directly align with the views of the club and it is open to any and all members.

In other news, after the club presentations, Student Trustee David Panbehchi showed a trailer of the documentary “Crips and Bloods: Made in America.” He wants to show this at a viewing party. Even after Vice President of External Affairs Matt Esguerra expressed concern about potential “divisiveness”, the group unanimously voted approval of this event to be contingent upon the endorsement of the SBCC Black Student Union.  

The Channels caught up with Esguerra after the meeting to address the irony of Esguerra charge of divisiveness after Panbehchi charged Esguerra with the same accusation last week. When asked if the comment was sarcastic, Esguerra chuckled and said “no comment.”

The officers also dismissed a motion to support a $6,800 school wide purchase of a New York Times subscription. Stay tuned for next week’s staff meeting.


9/17: A previous version of this article stated that Panbehchi wants to include a conversation about gang violence at the documentary viewing party. However, this was not mentioned in his presentation at the meeting.
The previous version also stated that the New York Times subscription was $6,000.

9/19: A previous version of this article misspelled Alex Madajian’s last name. The error has been corrected.