Over 700 students showed up for #TheHeist to protest Milo Yiannopoulos talk

Rand Lounge was lit

Over 700 Vanderbilt students spent their Tuesday night at #TheHeist, joining together in Rand Lounge to celebrate diversity. The event ran as a protest, counter to the talk given by Milo Yiannopoulos.

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Azeem Hernandez of Hidden Dores opened the event by saying, “They want to say that we’re not beautiful, we’re not gifted, we’re not talented. But you know what, I think we are.”

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Milo is a controversial right-wing journalist known for being a vocal critic of social justice, Islam and feminism, and his clothing merchandise is branded with the hashtag he coined: #FeminismIsCancer.

He was brought to campus by the College Republicans to give a speech entitled “The Supreme Court Is The One Reason You Need To Vote Trump.”

At his talk, Milo mentioned The Heist, saying the attendees were probably “300 lesbian Muslims.”

However, instead of attending his talk, many students were enjoying free food from Hattie B’s and performances from groups such as Vandy Spoken Word and the Bhangra Dores. Some faculty and administrators were also there, including the Chief Diversity Officer, George Hill.

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James Zhang, the president of Vandy Spoken Word, opened with the first performance of the night

The full title of the event was “#TheHeist: Free Speech, Speak Out.” This theme fed into an art project present at the event, which invited attendees to write what free speech meant to them on post it notes and stick them to a huge banner. This was led by the Creative Dores subcommittee of Hidden Dores, which recently ran the Humans of Vanderbilt project in collaboration with VPB.

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Hidden Dores coordinated the event, which many other student organizations co-sponsored. Vanderbilt Feminists, Lambda and the Vandy Democrats all tabled at the event, with the Dems attracting people to register their absentee ballots on the spot with cardboard cutouts of JFK and Obama. There were lots of volunteers helping with tasks such as crowd management and they all received free t-shirts, as did the first 100 people who entered the event.

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JFK likes mac ‘n’ cheese with his collard greens

Erin Logan, the Hidden Dores PR Chair who led the planning of the event, said: “The Heist was spectacular! I’m shocked that over 700 people came! It was a brave space for us all.”

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