Berkeley College Republicans must not normalize hate speech

CAMPUS ISSUES: Inviting Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus will not bridge political gap, educate students

The Berkeley College Republicans have created an appealing narrative: A small but vocal minority stands up to oppression from fellow students, the campus and hostile liberal strangers to defend open discourse and freedom of speech.

Except it is not true.

Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor for the far-right news website Breitbart, is a repulsive agitator, and inviting him to speak at UC Berkeley normalizes his brand of alt-right hate speech. While the First Amendment protects him, he intentionally baits marginalized voices so that he can bully them and exploit the angry backlash in front of his fans.

In inviting him, BCR demonstrates it is not a club dedicated to the preservation of free speech and open dialogue on campus. This is a club hiding behind the right of free speech as an excuse to legitimize — and even laugh at — hate speech and shirk responsibility for any resulting damage.

Pieter Sittler, the internal vice president of BCR, told The Daily Californian’s Editorial Board he was not familiar with Yiannopoulos’ comments at other campuses. Still, he believes Yiannopoulos can widen students’ viewpoints and offer an often-elusive conservative perspective to the campus community. Sittler said he was unfamiliar with an incident at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in which Yiannopoulos harassed a transgender student in front of an entire audience.

If BCR wants Yiannopoulos to speak, the club should, at the very least, be able to specify what it is about him it finds meaningful and offer thoughtful responses to the criticism against him. Otherwise, BCR will not burst the liberal bubble it so condemns on this campus. It will only promote hatred and bigotry, which do nothing to advance conservative ideals in an increasingly divisive political climate.

Perhaps most hypocritically, Sittler said BCR invited Yiannopoulos to the campus to create a dialogue. Yet when asked about the concerns people have raised with this particular speaker, he evaded them and said those people should “grow up.”

BCR is unaware of or unwilling to publicly back Yiannopoulos’ comments but will allow them to happen here, much like they did in Milwaukee. The club has taken no responsibility to learn about the speaker it invited, but Sittler calls Yiannopoulos “hilarious” and “entertaining” as he harasses his way to headlines.

With the forthcoming inauguration of Donald Trump, UC Berkeley students will look to BCR for an indication of what to expect for the next four years. So when the speaker BCR has chosen to ring in the new era inevitably targets students — his past speaking engagements indicate he will — BCR cannot feign ignorance.

As an intellectual haven in the midst of a contentious Trump presidency, UC Berkeley deserves a better representative of conservative thought than a divisive troll. Unfortunately, BCR has taken the bait.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comment policy
  • johncooperiii

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • My Struggle

    Next time, we come prepared.

    Hail Victory!

  • IDontCareWhatYouThink

    There are no Nazis in America, but there seems to be a lot of Brownshirts at Berkley – makes you wonder.

    • johncooperiii

      Wrong shirt color. Thinking a little more rosy.

  • IDontCareWhatYouThink

    I see this rag is censoring dissenting views…

  • Carlee Veldezzi

    This is the exact reason Democrats have lost so much political power. Personally, I could not fathom how anyone could vote for Trump. A guy who, in my mind, showed no real qualifications. However, the schadenfreude I felt when he was elected was undeniable.

    I loved seeing the meltdown of those who, for so many years, have done anything and everything to silence, shame, attack, and outright bully anyone who dares to disagree with their cookie-cutter ideology. All this is with a thick layer of sanctimony. This rivals and often tops anything I have ever seen from even the most sheltered evangelicals. A group these people once detested for the same reasons!

    What’s more is that most of these people seem unable to express their ideas or handle point/counterpoint discussions. They don’t care to. The entire culture is just about signaling your virtue to your peers and getting some good photos for your social media account to show how righteous you are to your carefully-curated friend list of those who agree with you. For a group of people who never stop shrieking, they say surprisingly little.

    The sad part is that they are continuously turning off would-be allies. How easy it is to find yourself, as a moderate Democrat, questioning your own ideas when you see you political allies behaving like such unreasonable, petulant children. The desire to oppose such behavior can quickly become stronger than your desire to be ideologically consistent. I am convinced that this had a huge part in how we got President Trump. When will this madness end?

  • Man with Axe

    Free speech for me but not for thee.

    • lspanker

      Same goes with elections with these kooks. Their man gets elected, and anyone who dares to criticize him gets smeared as a “racist” or “hater”. Fast forward 8 years, the people want a change and vote in a different party, and they’re protesting in the streets and breaking things because they didn’t get their way. Yet these are the people who whine and cry about how there’s too much “hatred” and “division” in this country? These sanctimonious arseholes have NO idea why they lost…

  • Penguin

    He’s jewish. do you liberals normally call jews nazis? oh wait, you guys do, constantly, because obviously you don’t think the nazis were really that bad. So holocaust denial is progressive.

  • Penguin

    Calling everything you don’t like “hate speech” shows what mincing, hateful intolerant bigots liberals are.

  • lspanker

    Thanks for that shining example of why many of us consider lefties circa 2017 to be a bunch of hysterical idiots.

    • Paul Lane

      I’m doubting that you go (or have ever) attended UC Berkeley.. You are Chicken S%%% for sure though..

      • lspanker

        I’m doubting that you go (or have ever) attended UC Berkeley.

        BSChE 1995. Now please share your academic credentials with the rest of us, snowflake…

        • lspanker

          Hmm, no reply from Paul Lane, I see, Wonder why?

  • ShadrachSmith

    Democrats had best quit nagging everybody about what they must say & think. That process lost 306-232, lost the states 30.25-19.75, because Maine split. Ds have nagged themselves into an archipelago of blue islands in a sea of red, perhaps you noticed? Ain’t nobody digging that act but you.

    • Pietro Gambadilegno

      Trump lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes. He won the electoral college only because of help from Vladimir Putin.

      • ShadrachSmith

        That’s the Project Syndicate meme, well stated. Get that law changed, or pound sand. Ds are now a politically underrepresented archipelago of urban islands in a sea of red. I understand the despair. So don’t think about that.

        • Pietro Gambadilegno

          Talking about memes, you seem to be incapable of doing anything more than repeating the same meme: “archipelago of islands,” “sea of red.” blah, blah. You don’t seem to realize that more people live on islands than live in the sea.

          The fact is that the majority of American voters voted for the Democrat for president. Since you don’t like the fact, I assume you will repeat your meme again.

          We don’t need to change that law in order to change the result of future elections. We just need to stop the Russian hackers.

          • lspanker

            The fact is that the majority of American voters voted for the Democrat for president.

            And guess what, Pedro – at this point, it doesn’t make a damned bit of a difference. EVERY serious candidate knows how presidents are elected in this country, and everyone of them hires a campaign staff and political consultants to try to win an election based on those rules. That’s the way the game is played. Only children whine and demand to change the rules after the fact, You and your clueless uber-liberal buds in Berkeley really, REALLY need to grow up.

          • Pietro Gambadilegno

            Everyone runs their campaigns to win the electoral college, but the facts are:

            The electoral college has a conservative bias, because rural states have more representation than they deserve. Eg, one voter from Wyoming has 3.6 times as much weight as one voter from California.

            Despite its conservative bias, Trump probably would not have won the electoral vote if the Russians had not hacked the election.

            Because he lost the popular vote, Trump does not have a popular mandate, even though he won the election.

            [Note that I responded with three statements that are actually about the topic. I did not include any personal attacks such as “You
            and your clueless uber-liberal buds in Berkeley really, REALLY need to grow up.” As I have said before, I don’t know why you indulge in these generic emotional attacks against liberals, since they will not convince anyone that your position is correct.]

          • lspanker

            I’ll repeat what I said once again: YOU REALLY NEED TO GROW UP. You’re out there like a big f–king BABY protesting because baby didn’t get his way. Suck it up and act like a man for a change. None of us get what we want all time, so what makes you so freaking special?

      • lspanker

        If you really believe that, Pedro, then you’re placing yourself in the kook fringe, among the likes of your Berkeleyside buddies OpenFullHeart and justiceplease. As far as Putin’s involvement goes, he only “helped” Trump in the sense that he made it clear that Obama was a weak, clueless, ineffectual POTUS who was over his head in dealing with Putin.

        • Pietro Gambadilegno

          The CIA says they helped Trump by hacking and leaking damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Is the CIA made up of kooks?

          Again, you should have read enough of my comments to know that I constantly criticize OpenFullHeart and JusticePlease. They are not my buddies.

          Finally, read my name carefully, and you will see it is not “Pedro.”

          • lspanker

            Pietro, isn’t about time you changed your diaper? Seriously now, you’re nothing but a f–king insufferable crybaby.

          • Gene C Clark

            The fact that you BELIEVE the CIA shows how stupid you really are.

  • Gladius

    Unless you yell the often mentioned “Fire in a theater” or incite violence it is protected speech and should be allowed. The First Amendment isn’t hard. Calling it Hate Speech is just libs way of banning speech..Such weenies…

  • if anything the tolerant left has exposed their contempt for free speech in these past weeks

    • lspanker

      Free speech and fair elections.

  • Mike Kujawski

    UC Berkeley makes Harvard look conservative. Give Milo props for going there. He has a spine of steel. The snowflakes at UC Berkeley believe in free speech as long if it is speech that they agree with. If you disagree with Milo, make your point. Trying to shut down free speech is utterly detrimental to your so called cause. Living such insular lives in a bubble does not serve you well as you get older and adapt in the real world. Why do you think we now have President Donald J Trump?? Real Americans are sick and tired of political correctness and shutting down free speech. Milo deserves kudos for keeping the free speech express churning down the track and for speaking many truths that others simply do not want to hear. Blocking your ears and going “la,la,la,la,la” does not make this go away……..

  • Alex

    Remember when Louis Farrakhan was invited on campus? Where was the outrage Daily Cal?

    • lspanker

      Oh, it’s not “hate speech” in their minds if it’s directed at people they don’t like anyway…

  • PE2011

    TL;DR We support free speech but only from people who think exactly like we do.

  • disqus_lCik0TlIfq

    full transcripts of Milo’s speeches are available to read online at Breitbart’s website, including the latest screeds where he shares his fear and loathing of Muslims and calls Trump “daddy.” No one can claim ignorance of what he will say.

    • Arafat

      Fear of Muslims? Now why in the world would a homosexual be afraid of Muslims other than that they throw homosexuals off of rooftops for fun?

      • disqus_lCik0TlIfq

        Who is “They”?

        • Arafat


          • disqus_lCik0TlIfq

            so, you’re saying all Muslims want to throw gay folks off rooftops?

          • lspanker

            Well, you have no problem in accusing all Trump supporters of being racists, homohobes and/or bigots, so exactly what hallowed moral ground do you think you’re standing on anyway?

          • disqus_lCik0TlIfq

            I don’t know if you’re speaking to me, but what I said was to go read the speeches yourself. See what he’s talking about. Analyze his arguments and come to terms with his agenda. I didn’t make any of these accusations you mention here.

          • lspanker

            I don’t know if you’re speaking to me

            If you don’t know, you’re clearly not bright enough to participate in this discussion.

          • lspanker

            Are you saying all conservatives and Republicans want to take away the rights of gay people?

        • lspanker

          If you’re playing dumb, you’re doing an awfully good job of it.

    • lspanker

      Funny but you’re wetting your panties about Milo offending a few gay and trans people while condemning those who fear and loathe those who would kill those same gay and trans people in the name of their nutcake religion if they had half the chance. Cognitive dissonance much?

      • disqus_lCik0TlIfq

        I don’t know how many Muslim people you know, but the ones I know have no intention of killing anyone. But if you do care about gay and trans people, it would be good to turn your attention to the new government that’s just taken office in the US, and make sure people’s rights aren’t taken away.

        • lspanker

          I don’t know how many Muslim people you know,

          I have met quite a few, not only here in the States but overseas.

          but the ones I know have no intention of killing anyone.

          I have met a few who would if they have half the chance.

          But if you do care about gay and trans people, it would be good to turn your attention to the new government that’s just taken office in the US

          Trump doesn’t plan on “taking their rights away”. Why don’t you just take your nonsense away?

  • laura

    Milo has proven to be one of the most effective performance artist exposing the absurdity of political correctness. If that offends you Editors you truly are the snowflakes they criticize.

    Last year the Cal Republicans invited Ben Shapiro who sharply criticized Trump and fits the requirements outlined in this editorial. Yet at many campuses extremists have blocked Shapiro from speaking.

    • Pietro Gambadilegno

      Performance artist? I guess Trump is also a great “artist.”

      • laura

        Trump is a real estate tycoon and fraud.

        • Gene C Clark

          People will remember him forever…you will just be forgotten. So what do you matter?

          • laura

            I will die with my integrity intact.

  • MegaMmkh .

    Wait wait wait; so you’re saying he’s not coming to give a lecture on the etymology of the word “gyro”? SMH

  • Tricia

    The author of this article asserts: Yiannopoulos harassed a transgender student in front of an entire audience. It was my understanding that Yiannopoulos was critical of a student who still had male genitalia sitting with the male genitalia exposed in the women’s locker room sauna. What is wrong with voicing objection to that behavior? It seems to me the person exposing male genitalia in the women’s locker room sauna was doing the harassing. Isn’t what’s really happening that some people are trying to silence objections to this form of harassment of women?

    • Penguin

      you are talking to the “pro science” left who deny chromosomes and think men get pregnant.

  • Pietro Gambadilegno

    The first amendment gives everyone the right to speak and prevents the government from passing laws that censor speech.

    Within that framework, each institution decides which speakers it should give a forum. The first amendment doesn’t mean that magazines have to publish every article that is submitted, and it doesn’t mean that universities or student groups have to invite every troll to speak on campus.

    Universities should invite speakers who have real intellectual content to contribute – and that should include serious speakers with politically incorrect opinions. But they should not invite someone like Yiannopoulos, who specializes in saying outrageous things to draw attention to himself rather than dealing seriously with ideas. A speaker like that degrades the university and detracts from its mission of spreading learning.

    Likewise, student groups should invite speakers who have real intellectual content to contribute. The editorial is absolutely right to say, “UC Berkeley deserves a better
    representative of conservative thought than a divisive troll. Unfortunately, BCR has taken the bait.”

    • IskurBlast

      Nope public universities are subject to the first amendment. If you want to be able to censor speech then dont take public money.

      Your point is more a symptom of your own nurosis. You think that public money is only for leftists and not the people.

      • Pietro Gambadilegno

        Public universities are subject to the first amendment, but you don’t know what the first amendment says. It says that the government cannot censor speech. It doesn’t say that the government or private groups have to provide a forum for everyone who wants to speak.

        You obviously have problems with reading comprehension, since you say that I only want leftists to speak, so I will repeat that I said above:
        “Universities should invite speakers who have real intellectual content
        to contribute – and that should include serious speakers with
        politically incorrect opinions.” Please read that quote slowly carefully.

        You also have problems with spelling, and you don’t know what a “nurosis” is.

        • Penguin

          wrong, even private company owned towns have been ruled as state actors and the first amendment applies against them.

          • Pietro Gambadilegno

            The first amendment applies, but it doesn’t require anyone to provide a forum.

            Eg, in Berkeley, Hateman has a first-amendment right to stand on Sproul Plaza and tell everyone that it good to tell people you hate them. But the university or any private organization doesn’t have an obligation to provide him with an auditorium where he gives that speech.

            Likewise, Yiannopoulos has a right to stand on Sproul Plaza and say whatever he wants. But the university and the Berkeley College Republicans do not have an obligation to provide him with an auditorium to give his speech.

            Or do you that the university does have an obligation to provide them both with an auditorium:?

            I think there is more confusion about the first amendment than about any other issue.

          • IskurBlast

            Widmar v. Vincint

            Public Universities cannot restrict acess to limit speech, religion, or assembly.

            If its open to one it must open to all.

        • IskurBlast

          The funny thing is you think that in over 200 years of constitutional law this hasnt been asked and answered you ignorant moron.

          • Pietro Gambadilegno

            It has been asked and answered, but the answer is not what you think.

            I will let readers look at our the reasoning in our comments and decide for themselves which of us is an ignorant moron.

          • IskurBlast

            It is what I think genius. There is mountians of case law on this. If a public university is open to any speakers it cannot discriminate based on content of speech. That is why those on the left are taking this convoluted argument that Milo is inciting violence while not inciting violence. Because incitement to violence is not protected speech.

          • Pietro Gambadilegno

            Do the university and the College Republicans have an obligation to invite me as a guest speaker? If they don’t have an obligation to invite me as speaker, then they don’t have an obligation to invite Yiannopoulos.

            The case law says very clearly that they cannot prevent anyone from speaking based on content, but they do have discretion to decide whom to invite as a guest speaker.

            They cannot prevent me or Yiannopoulos from speaking at a PUBLIC FORUM, such as Sproul Plaza. They do not have to set up special events for either of us to speak.

            BTW, I think think your furiously angry responses are a symptom of your “nurosis.”

    • jim hoch

      Unlike Louis Farrakhan Sr.?

    • lspanker

      But they should not invite someone like Yiannopoulos, who specializes in saying outrageous things to draw attention to himself rather than dealing seriously with ideas.

      So the likes of Yvette Felarca or Calypso Louis Farrakhan would be more acceptable, correct?

      • Pietro Gambadilegno

        Come on, lspanker. You have read enough of my comments to know that I believe Felarca should be in jail.

        • lspanker

          And you (and everyone else at Berkeleyside) have read enough of my comments to know I’m no supporter of racism or homophobia, but it didn’t stop me from that excuse being used to ban me from that site, did it? At least I’m only disagreeing with you, and not trying to censor you.

          • Pietro Gambadilegno

            I had no idea they banned you. They were wrong to do that.

            As I have said in comments in Berkeleyside, I think you made many interesting points. You did indulge in too many personal attacks on “lefty liberals” that were unrelated to the topic at hand, but I far as I can see, you never supported racism or homophobia.

            To make my own position clear, I think the university should allow speakers that many people would consider racist or homophobic – if their ideas have some real intellectual content. For example, many would consider the late Thomas Sowell’s ideas racist, but they were back up with cogent reasoning and data, so they are the sort of thing that should be discussed at universities.

            Of course, blogs like Berkeleyside should allow even more latitude in comments.

          • Penguin

            they’re so unhinged, they care more about the preferred pronouns of a murderer than they care about the people murdered.

          • lspanker

            Liberalism IS a mental disorder.

  • Arafat

    Here we go again, another hypocritical liberal, a person who “cherishes the 1st Amendment, demanding we shut down someone’s right to speak.

    You win a George Orwell Award for double-speak.

Tags No tags yet