Allies: Cal Poly President President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, University of Washington, Seattle President Ana Marie Cauce, Sexist and White Nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos, University of California President Nicholas Dirks, and University of New Mexico President Chaouki T. Abdallah
A PDF version of this press release is available here: gdc-2017-01-29-alt-right-1
From Sam Wagner, IWW General Defense Committee
PO Box 15573
Pittsburgh, PA 15244
Phone (763) 439 3886
Date January 29, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
University Administrations that Host Alt-Right Events Risk Our Safety:
Yiannopoulos Routinely Incites Violence at Campus Events
(Pittsburgh, PA — January 29, 2017) Two public California universities will host Milo Yiannopoulos’ “Dangerous F*****t” tour this week. An open misogynist and white nationalist, Yiannopoulos regularly incites hate crimes. Since the election of Donald Trump, Alt-Right counter-protesters have started to attack protesters, with no serious response from university administrations, these counter-supporters seem to have little interest in or knowledge of Yiannopoulos. Many do not attempt to enter the events. Instead, they seem intent on attacking protesters.
On January 20th, a counter-protester shot an unarmed activist on the University of Washington campus. The shooting victim is a long-time anti-racist and anti-fascist activist. He is also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and its General Defense Committee (GDC). The victim had been seen de-escalating conflicts before being shot. The alleged shooter brought a loaded firearm to a protest, appears to have been drunk, and repeatedly sought physical confrontation with protesters that evening.
Two alleged suspects turned themselves into University of Washington Police early the next morning. They claimed self-defense and the police released them without charge. University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce released a statement condemning the violence. She has made no mention of the source of the violence. UW College Republicans organized a rally for this coming Monday against the victim. In their call-out, they encouraged people to bring bricks, and threatened anti-racists that “it’s time your flame is put out.” The University administration has done nothing more than call for peace.
Yiannopoulos’ tour takes place on large public university campuses. These universities must use public funds to support and provide security for these events. The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque suspended its existing rules to permit the event. The existing rule required the inviting College Republicans student club to pay the security fee of $3,400 associated with Milo’s event. This means that an additional $3,400 of tax money was spent to support a misogynist and white nationalist.
The claims that the First Amendment require universities to spend public tax money in support of misogynists and white supremacy is a misnomer. Universities are tasked with the job of keeping students, staff, and faculty safe. Balancing these concerns is difficult, but presuming that Yiannopoulos presents no safety threat is dishonest. Faculty, students, and community members in all locations requested the cancellation of the events, citing Milo’s hate speech and the violence he incites.
Administrators have so far ignored the violence and hate Yiannopoulos encourages at his events, which actually accompanies them. Incitement to sexist and racist violence is not the same as sexist and racist violence, but there is a clear relationship. Understanding this relationship should not be difficult for people who run a university.
Administrators continue to support misogyny and white nationalism by permitting Yiannopoulos’ events. They have implied a strong difference between words inciting hate, and the violence incited. “They’re just words,” seems to be the argument. But after World War II, the Allies hung a Nazi newspaper editor named Julius Streicher for his words. Do we have a worse understanding of the relationship between words and violence today? Today, university administrators fund direct threats to students and communities with taxpayer money. Meanwhile, Milo and the Alt-Right continue to spread hate and violence on campuses nationwide.