FULLERTON (CBSLA) – Milo Yiannopoulos will speak at Cal State Fullerton on Halloween night, the campus’ College Republicans chapter announced Wednesday.
The College Republicans, who are sponsoring the Oct. 31 appearance, described it as a “kickoff event” for Yiannopoulos’ “Troll Academy Tour.”
CSUF spokesman Jeffrey Cook released a statement which emphasized that allowing Yiannopoulos to speak at the school is vital to freedom of expression. It read, in part:
“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.”
A petition on Change.org asking Cal State Fullerton administrators to block the speech has drawn nearly 5,000 signatures.
Cook noted that the school will be working to ensure safety during the event. The College Republicans were asking attendees not to wear costumes. A scheduled speech by Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley in February triggered violent protests against him and those who showed up to see him, some of whom were injured. The speech was canceled.
“We will not tolerate violence or the threat of violence in our learning environment,” Cook said.
The CSUF Republicans chose Yiannopoulos to speak on campus due to his ability to spark discussions regarding free speech on college campuses, chapter president Amanda McGuire said.
“Inviting a controversial speaker like Milo has created a conversation throughout campus as students consider what it means to have freedom of speech,” chapter President Amanda McGuire said in a statement. “For too long left-leaning groups have dominated campus culture and marginalized conservative thinkers through intimidation tactics and violent protests. The CSUF Republicans provides a place for all voices to be heard.”
Tickets to the speech, which will be held in the Titan Student Union at 6 p.m. on Oct. 31, are $35. They can be purchased at the ASI information desk in the school’s Student Union.
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