FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Skyler Dorr: 612-360-5371, SDorr13@gmail.com
Steph Taylor: 612-248-0998, Taylo574@gmail.com
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – On February 17, 2016, students, staff, faculty, and community members will protest a speech being delivered by journalist Milo Yiannopoulos. The protest is being organized by Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota (SDS) and will take place outside of Yiannopoulos’s speech, which is being hosted by Students for a Conservative Voice and the Minnesota Republic in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Milo Yiannopoulos is being protested for his work on breitbart.com as well as for his work as a social commentator. Yiannopoulos grew in fame chiefly for his response to Gamergate, a controversy in which a group of men referring to themselves as Gamergate began harassing women within the video game industry in response to many women demanding a change in the overwhelmingly sexist industry. The instances of harassment included doxing, threats of rape, and death threats. Yiannopoulos became a major figure of the controversy with his 2014 online essay defending men’s rights to harass and threaten the lives of women and claimed the video game industry to be under attack by an “army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners” who are “lying, bullying and manipulating their way around the Internet for profit and attention.” Students for a Democratic Society sees his violent speech against women and in defense of violent acts against them as hate speech, which has no place on our campus.
Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at the University of Minnesota by the Minnesota Republic, a far-right periodical that has been in trouble with the University multiple times for insensitive content, including multiple overtly racist and Islamophobic depictions of Muslims and calling for a white history month with a cover reading, “We *heart* White People.” Students for a Conservative Voice, the student group printing the paper, received an outrageous sum of roughly $104,000 in student service fees from the University, allowing it to hire staffers for their paper as well as to invite speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos.
By allowing for student service fees to be used to invite violent, misogynistic and transphobic hate speech onto our campus, the University of Minnesota is condoning this dangerous speech with its inaction in the interests of the student body.
For these reasons, protestors at Rutgers University protested Milo Yiannopoulos’s presence on their campus earlier this month. Students for a Democratic Society stand in solidarity with the organizers at Rutgers.
SDS is a national, multi-issue organization that works to build power in schools and communities. Entirely student and youth-led, SDS has over 100 active chapters in high schools, colleges, universities and cities across the country. SDS at UMN was founded in 2006 and has organized many anti-war campaigns and events since then. This year, SDS at UMN has been organizing an education rights campaign centered around rising tuition, diversity on campus, and administrative bloat.