'Perils' of 'inadvertently' seeing Milo too great, NYU says

New York University (NYU) has canceled a Milo Yiannopoulos speech, saying it presents “perils to [the] safety of our community” because some students may “involuntarily” stumble upon it.

NYU informed the school’s College Republicans chapter in an email that the event would not be allowed due to the possibility that LGBTQ students, Muslim students, and other students who “are the subjects of Mr. Yiannopoulous’ [sic] attacks” may be drawn into the event “involuntarily” because of the speech’s location.

“The physical set-up of NYU is such that our buildings are all multi-use and any space that would be used for this sort of event would invariably be near to a constant flow of students who could be drawn into the event involuntarily as well as other student organizations that are the subjects of Mr. Yiannopoulous’ attacks,” the message stated, eventually concluding that “given...the perils to [the] safety of our community and the orderly pursuit of university life—we cannot allow the use of University facilities for this event.”

University spokesperson John Beckman told Campus Reform that the proposed venue for the speech, the Kimmel Center, is particularly problematic because the Islamic Center, the LGBTQ Student Center, and the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs are all located either in the Kimmel building or in the attached building to the West.

“On other campuses, his events have been accompanied by physical altercations, the need for a drastically enlarged security presence, harassment of community members both at the event and beyond, and credible threats involving the presence of firearms or explosives,” NYU added in the email to the CRs.

Beckman asserted that the decision was made purely due to safety concerns and had nothing to do with Yiannopoulos’ controversial views, but did not say whether there were any specific threats made regarding the proposed speech at NYU.

“Really, it speaks for itself: this decision was made because of safety issues,” he told Campus Reform, noting that the university has allowed for controversial speakers and events in the past, such as letting students hold a “Find the Illegal Immigrant Game,” tolerating the display of Danish cartoons that depicted the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and allowing controversial speaker Chris Simcox on campus.

All those events took place nearly a decade ago, however; the Danish cartoon event was held in 2006 while the other two took place in 2007.

Regarding Yiannopoulos, Beckman said that NYU’s decision to cancel the event is not unusual because many other schools have canceled his events over safety concerns.

Yiannopoulos has, indeed, had events cancelled by a number of universities this year, including DePaul University, the University of Miami, and the University of Central Florida.

His events have also been met with violence and disruption in some cases, including one notable case last year at DePaul University, where a student grabbed the microphone from one of the organizers and then took a swing at Yiannopoulos, prompting DePaul to ban Yiannopoulos from returning for a second time.

(H/t: Inside Higher Ed)

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