With election day right around the corner, political controversy is inevitable. This has especially been true recently on college campuses.
Ultra-conservative speaker and journalist Milo Yiannopoulos first rose to his infamy through his coverage on the Gamergate controversy.
Yiannopoulos plans to speak at the University of Maryland College Park next month, and one particular student has put matters into his own hands to try and prevent his appearance at the college.
Jacob Penrod, a freshman psychology major at UMD, posted a change.org petition on Thursday, proposing to the President of the college, Wallace Loh, to stop Yiannopoulos from speaking at the university.
Stressing that “hate follows Yiannopoulos where he goes,” Penrod knew he didn’t want a dangerous man like him on campus. The petition has already reached 160 signatures out of the 200 needed to send to President Loh.
Fresh U asked Jacob how he first heard of Milo:
“I've been aware of him for a while, but I first started actually caring when he got kicked off of Twitter for abusing Leslie Jones.”
Reviewing the new Ghost Busters movie, Yiannopoulos personally attacked actress Leslie Jones. The racist comments and attacks eventually removed him from Twitter.
When asked about his opinion of Yiannopoulos’ actions on college campuses, Penrod elaborates on his support for free speech, but disagrees with the negative energy that endlessly follows the speaker.
“I am for free speech. I disagree with almost everything he stands for, but if he just came and talked and left, I wouldn't really be protesting.”
Penrod, who posted the petition on the UMD Class of 2020 Facebook Group, received numerous comments that disagreed with his actions. When asked about his thoughts, Jacob made sure to keep an open mind:
“People are allowed to disagree. And whenever you do any kind of activism, people are going to. I read all of the comments so I can educate myself on other people's viewpoints. I think it's important to hear all sides of the argument to best understand your own.”
Out of the many people who disagreed with Jacob’s decision to post a petition, UMD sophomore Tommy O’Farrell, double majoring in finance and history, has spoken with Fresh U about it:
“I don't agree with the fact that he is trying to stop people from speaking freely and speaking their mind. Milo has done nothing illegal and should be allowed to speak no matter how stupid his comments are.”
O’Farrell however, doesn’t believe there is a larger issue of taking away free speech at UMD.
“Everyone has their right to their own opinions, but I think the university must remain neutral in all of these cases. If the university aligns itself with certain beliefs and certain people's opinions, it alienates and upsets others who don't agree with their stance on the topic.”
Lead Image Credit: Twitter