A group of college Republicans claims it came under verbal assault by students and members of the faculty of a California university for distributing allegedly offensive posters announcing a rally in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The Cal Poly College Republicans, who planned the rally for today on the campus of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., said in a statement earlier this week that the “flyers posted on campus advertising the pro-American rally have stirred controversy due to a picture of Osama bin Laden.”

The flyers were allegedly labeled as “hate flyers” by some students and faculty members, the group said in its statement.

“It’s obvious that the people on this campus who are preaching tolerance are only preaching tolerance for terrorists,” said Cal Poly College Republicans President Brent Vann. “The only hate speech on campus is from campus radical leftists and their pals in the faculty and administration who show their hatred for America’s values on a daily basis.

“It’s a shame our professors are too busy attempting to muzzle anyone who believes in the importance of preventing another attack like the one on Sept. 11,” he added. “It’s sad that they have placed their ideology ahead of saving American lives.”

“I hope this is not just another example in a long line of Republican bashing on a college campus,” said the group’s adviser, Laura Freberg, who is also a faculty member at the college. “My intuition is that this discussion is not at all about the flyer, but a difference of opinion regarding current national policy.”

Patricia Harris, assistant director of leadership education and development at the school, denied she and others were trying to deny the Republican group its right to freedom of speech.

“I support all students’ First Amendment rights,” she told WorldNetDaily in an e-mail, but added, “I also believe that all students need to consider how their speech and other media affect fellow students.”

She said the posters were “definitely controversial,” but denied there was an organized campaign to take them down. “As far as I know, they are still posted,” she said.

In a letter to Vann, a copy of which was obtained by WND, Harris called the posters “crude and ignorant,” and said she was “at a loss to understand why you thought these posters would be a good idea.”

Other faculty members decried the “caricatures of Arab-looking men” depicted on the posters.

Vann said a week earlier, at a farmer’s market event in town, “our group was spit at, ridiculed and harassed.” He added that local police had to be called “after threats of violence were made against us.”

The posters in question, Vann said, “only show Osama bin Laden on them, not Arabs or Persians.”

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