I am emphatically looking forward to attending Milo Yiannopoulos’ talk on Halloween. I have mixed feelings about how our campus is dealing with his invitation in the wake of the controversy surrounding his talks. I look at his talk like the explicit warning on Pandora, which essentially states, there might be language that offends some people, and if it is going to offend you, simply change the station. For example, a couple times a year I can always count on a fundamentalist Christian to proselytize their beliefs on campus. Although I do not subscribe to the same tenets they do, I am glad they come.
In fact, I admire anyone who has the courage to stand up for what they believe in. I always thought college was supposed to be a microcosm for reality of the professional world. College is supposed to challenge our beliefs, compel questions and confuse me so I can process and ultimately apply what I learn to class, work and perhaps even life. It is a place to use my words to form complete sentences, which will connect into a cogent argument. College, as in life, is supposed to be a place where I take on challenges. It is supposed to be hard, perhaps painful. After all, pain is the touchstone to personal growth.
What college shouldn’t be is a safe space for me to hide from adversity. Often the most direct, challenging and harsh people I come in contact with, if my attitude is right, teach me the most. What can I learn from this person, their ideas? Why do I feel so strongly? Or more challenging, could my ideas/beliefs be wrong? I am pretty sure I have been wrong in the past, and I wager I’m going to make mistakes in the future, so I like the idea of leaving some room open to be wrong in the present.
If you disagree with Yiannopoulos, then I expect and welcome protests. My challenge to all parties is to see if we can reason together. If not, then perhaps we can disagree while remaining civil.
CSUF History Graduate Candidate, MA
President, Phi Alpha Theta
Department of History