NYU canceled conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos’ scheduled talk at the university, citing safety concerns in the wake of violent incidents sparked by his controversial viewpoints. The NYU College Republicans planned to bring Yiannopoulos to NYU on Nov. 17.
Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Marc Wais issued a cancellation email to all prospective attendees on Saturday, Oct. 15, which stated that the university’s security review of the event raised concerns about the community’s safety and wellbeing.
“On other campuses his events have been accompanied by physical altercations, the need for drastically enlarged security presence, harassment of community members both at the event and beyond and credible threats involving the presence of firearms or explosives,” the email said.
The announcement also said that this event’s planned location in the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium posed another issue with its proximity to the Islamic Center, the LGBTQ Center and the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs. Although Yiannopoulos is a gay man, he has previously said that he believes rape culture is false, that all moderate Muslims he knows are no longer Islamic and that fat people are “disgusting.”
The planned visit to NYU was part of “The Dangerous Faggot Tour,” a nationwide tour of college campuses in which Yiannopoulos is speaking out against political correctness in society today. Before the date of the now-canceled visit to NYU, Yiannopoulos is scheduled to speak at 14 other higher education institutions across the nation.
The College Republicans still hope to have Yiannopoulos on campus, and they plan to speak to the administration on Monday about the possibility. In a statement to WSN, the group said that they were completely left out of the decision-making process.
“We find this response from NYU to be unfair and deeply troubling,” the statement said. “We have always been proud of the administration for its impartiality and support for all its students, and as such this move seems like one that legitimizes the narrative that any political beliefs that are not left of center are beyond the pale, which is extremely worrying.”
CAS senior and Vice President of the College Democrats Drew Weber said that he was disappointed by the College Republicans’ decision to cater to the alt-right.
“It is important we have room for perspectives from both sides of the aisle at NYU,” Weber said. “However, Mr. Yiannopoulos’ rhetoric extends well past the bounds of constructive dialogue into violence inciting hate speech. It is impossible to have an environment of free speech when students’ safety is threatened due to their religious, racial or gender identity.”
He said he believes that it was shameful to invite Yiannopoulos who associates so openly with the alt-right, and added that NYU’s rational gave appropriate weight to the safety of the student body.
However, the College Republicans said they are most upset about the way people are construing the past violence associated with Yiannopoulos.
“You have chosen to willfully ignore that the overwhelming majority of physical altercations and violence at Mr. Yiannopoulos’ past events have been directed at him and the audience, not carried out by them,” the statement from College Republicans said. “It is deeply offensive to use this pretext to justify using the power of the NYU establishment to allow one group of students to silence another at will.”
University spokesperson John Beckman said that the correspondence sent to the College Republicans spoke for itself.
“Given what’s happened at a number of campuses by way of altercations, threats and disruptions, the University has serious safety concerns that caused us to determine that we cannot allow the use of university facilities for this event,” Beckman said.
Email Diamond Naga Siu at [email protected]