New York University will not allow the College Republicans to bring Milo Yiannopoulos to campus because the venue for his speech was located near the Islamic and LGBTQ Centers, and students who belong to those communities are “subjects of Mr. Yiannopoulos’s attacks.”
That’s according to an NYU administrator’s letter to the CRs, as reported by Inside Higher Ed.
It’s true that Yiannopoulos is a venomous critic of Islam, feminism, and some aspects of LGBT culture (though he is gay himself, as he frequently notes). But he hasn’t “attacked” anyone—he hasn’t assaulted anyone, and his followers haven’t either. Indeed, I would be more worried about someone committing violence against Yiannopoulos. In reality, these sorts of safety concerns are overblown, and are being used to chill speech.
What’s really going on here is administrators are keenly aware of the fact that Yiannopoulos’s message is deeply offensive to a whole lot of students. NYU, as well as a host of other universities, is using the imaginary threat of violence as a pretext to silence a point of view it doesn’t like.
As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Ari Cohn told Inside Higher Ed:
“It’s incumbent on administrators to not cut off debate and discussions because people are offended by them,” Cohn said. “Nobody is being forced to go hear the speaker. In fact, students who are offended and disagree with the viewpoint should seek out the speaker to raise questions and try to them prove them wrong. It’s an intellectual exercise.”
And if students are tired of Yiannopoulos’s shtick, they should stop legitimizing his perspective: censoring Milo doesn’t stop him, it only proves him right about the state of open dialogue on campuses.