Posters for an upcoming event featuring Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos at The University of California, Irvine, have prompted the university to encourage students to attend “Safe Zone training.”
The posters in questions were peppered with provocative quotes from previous speeches by Yiannopoulos in order to promote his speech. Members of the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) and the College Republicans were responsible for placing the posters around the campus, and as such received considerable backlash from classmates via social media along with harsh words from the university itself.
It seems that students and staff alike were antagonized by Yiannopoulos’ words of wisdom. These included a call to “Make America Gay Again,” and “if you can take a dick, you can take a joke.”
Whilst the university did not call for the event to be shut down, Dr Douglas Haynes, the UCI Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, sent an email to the campus community on Monday night, denouncing the language used in the posters as “offensive”, and recommending that students participate in “Safe Zone training”, to ensure they become an “ally” to the LGBT community, as Haynes declared himself to be.
“Homophobia—as well as other forms of bias—contradicts our campus’ enduring commitment to inclusive excellence,” Haynes wrote. The posters were “all the more distressing” because “it occurred a day after the … Equity Games,” an annual event dedicated to “learning about and appreciating the richness of our campus diversity, including the [LGBTQ] community.”
The YAL group issued a statement in response to the email, denying that any of the “inflammatory” posters were officially sanctioned by them. YAL attempted to distance itself from the posters, saying that “our love of free speech is tempered with the recognition that inflammatory speech for the sake of being inflammatory is largely meritless,” and explained that the goal in bringing Yiannopoulos to campus is merely “to bring an alternate perspective [to] the largely liberal and politically correct culture on our campus.”
However, the College Republicans stuck to their guns. The group’s President, Ariana Rowlands, told The Tab that “the posters we created to promote the event, I have been told, invaded some ‘safe spaces’. Despite their controversial nature, the posters generated a reaction … The posters did their job: they created a thought within the minds of students that they would not have otherwise had.”
Other College Republicans noted on the Facebook event page that there had been no such reaction from the university when unidentified students tore down posters advertising a speech by David Horowitz last week.
Jack Hadfield is a student at Warwick University and a regular contributor to Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter here: @ToryBastard_.