The University should disinvite Milo YiannopoulosBy Kyle Campbell | 09/19/2016 7:50pm
Free speech is essential to the operation of a university; I have personally written and advocated for the improvement of free speech policies on this campus, which are notoriously weak. The free exchange of ideas on college campuses has ended senseless wars and brought down corrupt governments; the University has a history of that, and I am proud of that history. I am also proud to have joined all UA students in signing the Capstone Creed, which reads: “As a member of The University of Alabama community, I will pursue knowledge, act with fairness, integrity and respect; promote equity and inclusion; foster individual and civic responsibility; and strive for excellence in all I do.”
Milo Yiannopoulos embodies none of these values. That a collegiate chapter of a major political party would invite such a man to speak at all is a disgrace to both our political system and our student body. The so-called “alt-right” – the movement Milo represents – is comprised of nothing more than Klansmen who have decided to forego their hoods. A quick perusal of Milo’s writing yields titles such as: “Sorry, Girls! But The Smartest People In The World Are All Men,” “Donald Trump Would Be The Real First Black President,” “Does Feminism Make Women Ugly?” and “I’m Worried Not Enough Teenagers Are Self-Harming.” He has referred to college rape culture as fantasy and claimed that the invention of the washing machine has made women unhappy. To use a recently popularized term, Milo Yiannopoulos is deplorable. He’s the kind of person the University used to name buildings after, but with none of the accomplishments.
Though I am a progressive, I would never call for the disinviting of a conservative economist or politician or professor. The Left cannot grow without checks and balances from the Right and vice versa. But universities exist primarily to educate, and nothing about Milo’s writings are educational. Inviting a sixth grader to make “your mom” and “women belong in the kitchen” jokes would be equally valuable to our academic community. We don’t allow our professors to teach homeopathy or astrology in the name of “free speech,” because it is the role of an institution of higher learning to ensure students graduate with a worldview compatible with reality. Milo’s pseudoscientific views on race and gender are historically even more dangerous than the anti-vaccine movement is today, as we have seen with the consequences of the teachings of Josiah Nott. Milo exercises his First Amendment rights the way mass shooters exercise their Second Amendment rights, with a blatant disregard for the well being of those around him.
Other universities have cited faux-concerns about security to prevent Milo from speaking, but I hope the University will be braver than that. Disinvite him because it’s the right thing to do. Disinvite him because his rhetoric incites violence – a violence that will likely harm the most vulnerable students on our campus. Disinvite him to prove that the Capstone Creed is not a series of empty words, but a declaration of standards that all students must uphold. Our administration must play its part in stemming this nation’s rolling tide of hatred, and that if that means banning a 31-year-old misogynistic child from campus, then so be it.
Kyle Campbell is a senior majoring in political science. He is the Opinions Editor of The Crimson White.