Following a number of setbacks involving scheduling commitments and tour bus laws, Milo Yiannopoulos finally made an appearance at West Virginia University recently, much to the dismay of several student groups on campus. The WVU College Republicans sponsored his stop in Morgantown, and it did not come without controversy. After dealing with multiple venue changes from the university and attempts from liberal student organizations to shut it down, the College Republicans persevered and held Milo’s talk on December 1st.
The lecture hall that hosted Milo was packed and some students were actually turned away, but a few stayed to watch the live-stream on a TV in the outside hallway. At 7:25 PM, Milo arrives and opens by dumping a box of Frosted Flakes on the floor. Earlier in the day, Kellogg pulled their advertisements from Breitbart, saying that the site promotes hate speech and is not in line with their company’s ideals.
Before diving into the topic for the night of “What Trump Means”, Milo took a few minutes to attack a liberal professor on campus who reportedly tells students that if they don’t agree with his political views, he’ll take points off of their grade and/or fail them on assignments. Professor Daniel Brewster, who Milo railed against and called “Professor Hamburger”, also held a World AIDS Day event that night and offered extra credit to anyone who attended instead of going to Milo’s talk. Within minutes of this part of the talk, students took to Twitter to trend #BecauseOfBrewster in support of him. It even prompted our university president, Dr. E. Gordon Gee, to write a letter discrediting Milo’s claims and ultimately defending Professor Brewster, entitled “We must defend free speech, while making personal attacks unacceptable”.
“As President of West Virginia University, I will always support the decision to bring a speaker to campus and our community – no matter how controversial. We never want to censor a person’s right to free speech. It is through listening to people who think differently from others that we learn about the world and discover who we really are…
However, that does not mean I, as President, lose my First Amendment right to speak up and condemn what is presented…It is one thing to share differing opinions that others may find offensive. It is another to be defamatory and target individuals. I personally condemn the tactic this speaker chose to vindictively attack one of our faculty members, Daniel Brewster.
While the University will always be committed to creating an open forum that supports free speech, we are also strongly committed to keeping our campus and local communities inclusive and safe.”
The fun doesn’t end there. Less than thirty minutes later, protesters showed up in the outside hallway, screaming phrases such as “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA”, “Fuck Trump”, and “Nazi”. After a few minutes of crying for attention, Milo finally gave in and went outside to greet them, taking a sign that so creatively stated “Milo Sucks” from one of the protesters for himself.
“Well, you’re not wrong.”
I promise, the night gets even better. Not even twenty minutes after the police contained the riot, the fire alarm goes off. Police later confirmed that it was a rioter from earlier that went around to the other side of the building and pulled the alarm, but at the time, Milo was adamant about not leaving, and so were we.
At the end of the night, I went home, scrolled through Twitter, and read through all of the hateful things people were saying online about Milo, the WVU College Republicans, and anyone who was in attendance at the talk. There was a lot of mud-slinging, and we’re going to feel the fallout from this night for a long time.