Professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos should not be allowed at his upcoming and highly controversial event at the Titan Student Union Pavilions as his speech could pose a risk to public safety.
Looking to the riots that Yiannopoulos spurred in Berkeley with nothing more than his flaming rhetoric, it’s clear that his presence at CSUF will be nothing but hostile.
Public colleges and universities who uphold the First Amendment are taken advantage of by agitators like Yiannopoulos who carry out their own interpretations of free speech.
“He seems to be mostly interested in provoking rather than engaging in a serious discussion,” said associate professor of political science Matthew Jarvis.
Yiannopoulos is traveling around college campuses to speak and intentionally provoke people hoping to spark rash reactions like the ones in Berkeley. And of course, he knowingly brings ideas that are unpopular among most college students.
“Colleges and universities tend to be fairly left leaning. The right-wing tests that commitment to free speech,” Jarvis said.
Speakers like Yiannopoulos come to left-leaning college campuses to cause a stir. By doing so, they gain more attention, which eventually leads to increasing profits from books or website traffic.
It’s great that public colleges and universities promote freedom of speech, but if that speech is expected to threaten public safety, the speaker should not be welcome.
Yiannopoulos’ defense of pedophilia led to his resignation from Breitbart, a far-right American news website. He also advocated for cultural appropriation while wearing a poncho at UC San Diego during his speaking tour called “The Dangerous Faggot.”
Thirty minutes before his scheduled speech at UC Davis, it was canceled because “it was determined that it was no longer feasible to continue with the event safely,” according to UC Davis News and Media Relations.
If the event hosted by the CSUF College Republicans club is not relocated or prevented, costs on resources to carry out this “speech” will be needed.
The Berkeley riots were estimated to cost around $100,000 in damages, according to CNN.
“Somebody has to bear those costs. In a public university, it has very often been the university. As part of our marketplace of ideas, it’s a cost we take on,” Jarvis said.
CSUF advocates for freedom of speech for all individuals but when someone like Yiannopoulos dares to cross the line and provoke Titans, that speech is no longer welcome.
Preventing hostile provocateurs from speaking in public colleges and universities should be a priority. Stopping Yiannopoulos from speaking will protect public safety and prevent avoidable altercations heading forward.
If this university allows Yiannopoulos to speak, it is well advised for those who disagree with his ideas to stay as far away from the event as possible.
“In a sense, I think the way you shut down a hateful provocateur, is you ignore them to the extent you can,” Jarvis said. “Would you care if Milo was yelling in a forest?”