The UC Irvine Republicans have been suspended for an entire year after they informed the administration of their plans to schedule another event on campus with Breitbart senior editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
Nearly a month after their initial event with Milo, entitled “Social Justice is Cancer,” the College Republicans were asked to attend a debriefing with the Director of Student Life & Leadership, Darlene Esparza, and Associate Dean of Students, Sherwynn Umali, to discuss the planning process of the event. During the meeting, College Republican President Ariana Rowlands raised the possibility of Milo’s return to campus.
Just four hours after the meeting, a UCI administrator sent the group an email to inform them they had suspended the club for an entire year.
Their justification for the ban was the group’s alleged failure to provide a certificate of insurance for the private security hired for the event to protect Milo. It means the group can no longer hold meetings, reserve rooms, plan events, or function as a club on campus in any capacity.
However, the need for a certificate of insurance appears to be an inconsistent requirement, as the group previously hosted conservative pundit David Horowtiz, who also required private security, but the group were never asked to provide an insurance certificate, and were not penalised for not doing so.
Furthermore, according to Rowlands, the administration claims that that Robert Petrosyan, Chairman Emeritus of the College Republicans, and the person handling administrative details for the first Milo event, received three warnings to provide a certificate prior to the night of the event.
Rowlands says the administration have not been able to provide documentation of any of these reminders. Furthermore, Petrosyan says he was only informed of the requirement on a single occasion, which happened to be just one day before the event.
Prior to the first Milo event on campus, UCI had already attempted to make life difficult for the College Republicans. They attempted to impose a additional $1,000 fee for hosting the event, making the false claim that the College Republicans were hosting the event with a non-UCI organization. The charge was eventually removed after being contested.
Speaking to Breitbart, Ariana Rowlands said, “This is nothing more than a punishment for hosting Milo and a punishment and a deterrent for wanting to host him again.”
“We wanted his return to be a rally for young Republicans, just before the election, to invigorate and excite young conservatives to vote for the GOP. I told administration this, so it is clear that this suspension that comes during such a critical election year, is a political statement on behalf of UCI,”
“They did everything they could to stop us from hosting him the first time, and now they want to make sure that we cannot host him again. It is a pity that the school I love deliberately sends a message to conservative students and clubs on campus, that we are not wanted here, that if you exercise your right to free speech, you will be punished, and you will be punished in such a disproportionately harsh way that it feels as if an attempt to try to exercise your free speech is futile.”
“We are not intimidated and we will not back down, we are going to fight this and we are going to win.”
The group attracted positive coverage from conservative media (including Breitbart) for their humour after they decided to distribute baby pacifiers to campus liberals planning a “safe space” before the first Milo event. The event itself was also widely covered across the media. But it seems that the administration is determined to make life difficult for conservatives on campus to engage in effective, headline-making activism.
Strangely, UC Irvine have decided to enact this draconian punishment against the College Republicans.
Breitbart has contacted Darlene Esparza and Sherwynn Umali for a comment, but have yet to receive a response.