DePaul petition: Milo ‘hurts’, ‘kills’ people with his opinions
An online petition is demanding that DePaul University cancel an upcoming appearance by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, claiming his speech “hurts” and “kills” people.
“The problematic and xenophobic statements and ideologies promoted by Milo Yiannopoulous [sic] are outraging,” begins the Change.org petition addressed to university President Dennis Holtschneider. “He perpetuates the dangerous systems of oppression that exist in our world and, as a result, on our campus.”
Yiannopoulos, whose lectures have become well-known for driving liberal students to fits of rage, is scheduled to deliver a speech hosted by the DePaul College Republicans on May 24, according to a Facebook page for the event.
“No Hate”—the alias assumed by the petition’s author—levels two main objections to Yiannopoulos’ presence on campus, complaining that he “mocks social justice and safe spaces, two qualities that are vital to the Vincentian mission of DePaul University,” and displays insensitivity toward “marginalized communities” by promoting “hate speech.”
Even the name of Yiannopoulos’ current speaking tour, “The Dangerous Faggot,” comes under fire in the letter, with the author describing it as “a homophobic slur” despite the fact that Yiannopoulos is, himself, proudly homosexual.
“Yiannopoulos continuously speaks out in ways that are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-feminist, and Islamaphobic,” the petition reiterates, declaring that “by inviting Yiannopoulos to speak at a campus function, the administration of DePaul University is allowing the rhetoric of hate speech and perpetuating systemic persecutions against people of color, women, Muslims, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming individuals, and other communities on campus.
“The systemic oppression of these communities is not a form of ‘intellectual thought,’ nor is it just ‘someone’s opinion,’” “No Hate” incorrectly asserts. “It is real, it hurts people, and it kills. Yiannopoulos profits off of the oppression of others.”
According to the petition, Holtschneider has already refused a personal request from a student to cancel the event, allegedly telling them that “I do not share the same level of concern as you for the well-being of our students if they are exposed to this spectacle.”
“By failing to cancel the event after having been made aware of the possible consequences that would result from the presence of Yiannopoulos, the administration of DePaul University has taken a stance that is contrary to the intrinsic and fundamental values of what it means to be a Vincentian,” the petition concludes indignantly. “They are allowing the perpetuation of both hate speech and systemic oppression on campus, and this is an unpardonable action for an institution which claims to stand for and with members of all communities within the human family.”
Yet while “No Hate” focused exclusively on Milo in the petition, the cancellation of his upcoming appearance is not the author’s only demand. In addition, the author wants Holtschneider to “issue a more appropriate response to the chalkings on campus and related issues, which can only be realized and decided by the students, staff, and faculty directly affected by these incidents.”
At press time, the anti-Milo petition had received 291 signatures over the course of three days, putting it a bit more than halfway to its goal of 500.
Several signers left comments offering sparsely-reasoned justifications for their support, such as “there’s no place for hate in the new age,” “DePaul needs to be a safe space for everybody,” and “xenophobia and sexism is [sic] NOT okay.”
A few commenters, however, challenged the supporters on free speech grounds, including one who signed under the alias “Fvck Your Safe Space,” and another who suggested that if “having your worldview challenged by an intelligent, witty, and well-prepared lecturer is so frightening that [you] feel the need to stop it … the world is going to crush you.”
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