The Cal State Fullerton College Republicans, a student group, has invited author and political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos to be a guest speaker for a ticketed event on campus in October.
As the sponsoring organization, the College Republicans would need to speak to details regarding the event and their interest in inviting this speaker, as this is not an event sponsored by the University.
Mr. Yiannopoulos is a controversial figure, but the University administration does not play a role in determining which speakers student groups may invite to campus. Throughout our 60-year history, our institution has been — and must always be — a marketplace of ideas in which diverse perspectives from all sides of issues are explored in a safe environment that upholds the right to freedom of expression, which is fundamental to our educational mission and to American democracy.
Furthermore, while many at the University and in the broader community may find Mr. Yiannopoulos’ remarks distasteful, if not wholly objectionable, the law is clear: what some consider hateful speech is, in fact, protected speech.
While we support nonviolent, free expression on our campus, we will not abandon our core values, nor stop supporting our students, nor discontinue building an inclusive, diverse environment. If members of our community disagree with views expressed on campus, they should respond with peaceful, civil discourse and recommit themselves to an institution built upon mutual respect.
Due to the nature of Mr. Yiannopoulos’ speaking engagements elsewhere, the University is engaged in appropriate planning to ensure the safety of our community. While we will defend the right of all points of view to be expressed on campus, we will not tolerate violence or the threat of violence in our learning environment.
In CSUF President Mildred García’s fall semester welcome message to our University community, she wrote: “We may face offensive language from individuals with whom we strongly disagree. Our commitment to uphold their right to speak should be matched only by our determination to challenge them through civil discourse, peaceful protest, and the hope that education — the truest and longest-standing cure for hatred and violence — sparks a transformation.”
Jeffrey D. Cook
Chief Communications Officer
California State University, Fullerton