FULLERTON – The College Republicans club at Cal State Fullerton is looking to bring conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to campus.
And some students are trying to stop it.
The club is finalizing negotiations with Yiannopoulus and the Fullerton campus for a talk on Halloween night.
“This is pretty close to being a done deal,” Chris Boyle, the club’s president emeritus, said Wednesday.
A petition on change.org is demanding CSUF block Yiannopoulos and other speakers who opponents accuse of promoting hate speech that incites violence and “threatens the lives of students.”
“Inviting Milo Yiannopoulos is inviting the alt-right and white supremacists who follow him,” reads the petition signed by 3,650-plus as of Wednesday afternoon. “Allowing him to have a platform validates him and allows these groups to organize within our community.”
Jeffrey Cook, a CSUF spokesman, said in an email that Yiannopoulous would be a “guest speaker invited by a student group for a closed, ticketed event. …
“Mr. Yiannopoulos is a controversial figure,” Cook said, “but the university administration does not play a role in determining which speakers student groups may invite to campus.”
Boyle, of the Republican Club, said the university has a responsibility “to represent all students on campus. That includes conservative students.”
If some students don’t want to hear Yiannopoulos, “they have a choice to not attend,” said Boyle, noting that there are liberal entertainers and commentators who rile the right, too. “It’s unfortunate when there is a funny man with conservative views who is faced with violence everywhere he goes. …
“A lot of the more shocking things he says is more social commentary and humor than political commentary.”
Meanwhile, in Berkeley, Mayor Jesse Arreguín said this week that he wants UC Berkeley to cancel a Yiannopoulos appearance planned for next month. The university said no.
“We have neither the legal right or ability to interfere with or cancel their invitations based on the perspectives and beliefs of the speakers,” a spokesman told The Mercury News.
Free speech has been under attack at campuses across the nation, with students themselves asking administrators to ban speakers they consider too controversial or whose ideas they oppose.
Last Sunday, far-left protesters clad all in black beat up on people who showed up in a Berkeley park to support of President Trump. And in February, the…