Jason Mattera

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Jason Mattera is a spokesman for the Young America's Foundation and has been described as "one of the top young conservative activists in the entire country."

Attacks on Judy Shepard

As a student at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, Mattera first received national attention in September 2003 when, as editor of a student newsletter for college Republicans titled The Hawk's Right Eye, he wrote a bullying and venomous attack on the mother of a college student who was beaten and murdered for being gay. Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was beaten to death in Wyoming, had given a talk at the Roger Williams campus about the murder of her son and had called on students to practice tolerance and respect. Mattera's column accused her of "preying on students' emotions and naivety" [sic] so that she could become "a mascot for the homosexual agenda." [1] (Pdf) The same issue published a lurid description of the homosexual rape of a young boy and threw in a joke about "pedophiles nationwide" who "condemned the FDA's food pyramid as 'bigoted' and 'hateful' because 'anus' and 'penis' were not listed as separate food groups."

As a student publication, Hawk's Right Eye received funding from the university to pay for its printing costs. Its attack on Shepard prompted the university administration to take the bait, denouncing the publication and freezing its funding. Conservative groups nationwide responded on cue, accusing the university of censorship. Young America's Foundation decried "harassment by university officials" and their "heavy-handed approach to silencing ideas that oppose the leftist orthodoxy so prevalent on college campuses." [2] David Horowitz's Front Page magazine took up the cry, as did another Horowitz group, Students for Academic Freedom. [3]

The local Providence Journal noted that the controversy "has launched Jason Mattera, the 20-year-old editor of the monthly newsletter, into the national spotlight. While in Washington, D.C., yesterday, Mattera spoke at a news conference on the Student Bill of Rights, which would require colleges to balance their so-called liberal bias in faculty hiring and promotions." [4] Mattera was in Washington for his summer internship at the National Review, which was in turn arranged through his fellowship at the National Journalism Center.

Whites Only Scholarship

In 2004, as "a protest against affirmative action," the College Republicans at Roger Williams University offered a $250 "whites-only scholarship." Applicants were asked to submit an essay and "a recent picture to confirm whiteness," reported CNN. [5]

Mattera, who was a member of the school's College Republicans at the time, said the scholarship was intended to help students "at a disadvantage because of their Caucasian descent. The university compiles scholarships just for students of color on campus. And the other kids who are not of color on campus have to fend for themselves." [6]

When the interviewer pointed out that Mattera had received $5000 from the Hispanic College Fund, Mattera responded: "It's fine if you want to give scholarships based -- or if certain groups based on their ethnic background and striving those minority groups inside. But why should I automatically be at an advantage just because I'm Puerto Rican and why should that automatically qualify me over some people at my university?" Later, he added, "Hispanic is not a race. Hispanic is -- you can't tell me what color Hispanic is. It's white, blank, Indian, Asian, Hispanic. It's not a race-based scholarship." [7]

Questioning Global Warming

In May 2007, Mattera weighed in on a current Roger Williams University's complaint that a science class had made Al Gore's documentary about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," required viewing. Mattera called the documentary "a highly political movie" and the class requirement "academic abuse," on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes." [8]

Colmes challenged Mattera, pointing out that global warming and its link to human activity are accepted truths within the scientific community: "You want to have equal time for something that is not of equal scientific weight." Mattera responded, "Who you are [sic] to say that’s not equal scientific weight? ... You don’t light [sic] a candle intellectually to any of these men." [9]

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