Most Columbia students don’t want Milo Yiannopoulos speaking on campus

58 percent who answered our poll don’t want him to come

After running a poll this week to see what Columbia students really think about hosting Milo Yiannopoulos as a speaker this fall, the results are in.

We asked you “Do you want Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at Columbia?” and with nearly 400 responses, “no” was the most popular answer at 58 percent. Those who answered “yes” came second with 40 percent, and two percent were undecided.

Here are some reactions from students about whether they believe he should be allowed to speak or not.

Alicia Simba, 20, Barnard

In case you missed it, this summer Milo Yiannopoulos was suspended from Twitter for his part in the racist, sexist attacks on Leslie Jones. As a Black woman, I am horrified that Columbia would invite him to speak on our campus. I think that free speech is something that should be celebrated, but hate speech should always be condemned. Milo’s opinions on Black women, and other groups, are hate speech more often than not, and our university should not be rewarding his notoriety.

Arina Merkulova, 26, GS

There is absolutely no reason why Milo should not appear at Columbia. This university has formerly allowed people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and many other controversial figures to speak on its campus. So why not allow Milo? Is it because he’s a conservative and his speeches are deemed inflammatory by the liberals? Well, so what? Let’s be honest, safe spaces are a made up concept by people who want to push their own agenda and silence someone else’s. This is a university! Every voice should be heard and every group of thinkers should have the right to representation. At this point the Republican conservatives at Columbia have not been shown as much graciousness and tolerance as have the ultra liberals. If you can’t handle Milo, all you have to do is not
show up.

Cameron McMahon, 30, GS

I voted yes. My reasoning is that I think this is part of an important larger conversation involving such things as university safe spaces, and if in the name of trying to accommodate people we are stifling free speech and not allowing productive dialogue. Especially when someone holds extremely different views, I think it is important to be able to hear them out, not just basing judgement on clips or soundbites out of context.

Pete Marshall, 39, GS

Hell fucking no, I don’t want him coming unless we take advantage of it and use it to refute his ignorant beliefs! I’m rolling from the women in science clip. STEM needs more women. The reality, however, is that the ratio of women to men in STEM classes is equal despite the insecurities women entering the field may feel. There is also a slew of historical evidence showing that women can and do succeed in science like Marie Curie and Émilie du Châtelet – who solved an important issue with kinetic energy that Newton didn’t. And these women did these things as protofeminists!

Anthony Bunkley, 28, GS

As a non-conformist that believes in the root of knowledge as a guiding light in life, which I believe to be truth, having Milo Yiannopoulos come to Columbia is essential to the experience of being a student here. Our perceived truths as students are shaped through several things, one of the main things being our opinion, mainly because it’s easy and requires little effort. But that’s exactly what Columbia pushes against. Columbia forces students out of their comfort in the pursuit of knowledge. So regardless of where you stand politically, as a Columbia student you owe it to yourself, in your life pursuit, to allow any voice a stage on this campus – the true marketplace of ideas, voice and reason. GO LIONS!

Anonymous student

I just really am scared to have my name on anything because I know he targets people who speak out against him. Which is why I really don’t think he deserves a platform to speak at Columbia. We are constantly told that the power of debate on campus comes from actively listening to what others have to say. What he does is scare people into silence. He creates a chilling effect on freedom of speech by making people too fearful to speak out against him.

Although I too think it’s important to engage in dialogue with individuals that have a different opinion than me, I have yet to see Milo actually participate in a constructive debate with anyone. He seems to get off on agitating people rather than actually having a discussion with them. I feel like he just wants to be famous and realized he was good at trolling people and decided to make that his career.

Milo comes to speak on November 16th.

Columbia University