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Students were angry and frightened over Milo Yiannopoulos campus talk: survey

The College Fix has obtained the results of a student government survey sent out prior to the Milo Yiannopoulos “Pray the Gay Away” event at Penn State.

The recently obtained survey results show many students said they did not feel safe on campus due to the November 3 event, which drew criticism from student and university leaders.

The University Parks Undergraduate Association conducted the survey and provided the responses to The Fix.

Students were asked a series of questions and the full results can be viewed here. The speech occurred without any violence or criminal activity.

‘How did you feel when you found out Milo was coming to Penn State?’

Out of the 337 responses, over 50 percent said they do not feel safe on campus. Roughly 30 percent were undecided and 20 percent said they still felt safe.

Most felt angry, disappointed and frightened when they heard about the Yiannopoulos event.

They expressed their anger in various degrees, with some calling it “horrible” while others said they were “fucking pissed off” or some version of that.

Others reported they felt outraged and embarrassed at the university for allowing and partly paying for the Yiannopoulos event after being ranked one of most LGBTQ friendly schools.

“Confused why PSU just got done with explaining how LGBTQ+ friendly they are,” said one survey response. “And even got picked #3 or something, JUST for them to PAY to bring this homophobic, sexist, and racist to our campus? Wtf.”

MORE: Punishments and cancelation attempts against Milo

A limited few were indifferent and even fewer were excited for the event.

”I have no opinion of it,” expressed one student. “If it’s ‘offensive’ to someone they just should get away from where he’s speaking at,” another said.

‘Express your feelings about safety and comfortability on campus, in regards to the MILO event’

The responses were mixed for this question but most were afraid that the Yiannopoulos event would cause and encourage attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.

“I feel like homophobes could be empowered by this event to cause further harm to the LGBT+ community,” one survey response said. “I’m stressed enough as is I don’t want to deal with homophobes too.”

“I don’t feel safe,” another student said. “With the reminder that people who I share a campus with and who I go to classes with want to eradicate me and my community (gay people) via religion.”

While others were still angered at the university, many were primarily afraid that violence would break out at the event or protests.

Numerous students cited the 2017 incident at University of California Berkeley while another student worried about the possibility of the Yiannopoulos event mirroring the January 6, 2021 violence in D.C.

However, a few others were afraid that the protestors — and not the attendees — would spark the violence.

“The only thing I’m worried about safety wise is how the students are going to violently react. The idea that the words out of Milo’s mouth alone will cause an unsafe environment on campus is bull crap,” said one respondent.

‘Is there anything the UPUA can do to make you feel safer?’

“DEPLATFORM MILO FOR FUCKS SAKE. STOP HOSTING HOMOPHOBES,” and, “TAKE DOWN THE FUCKING POSTERS YOU BOZOS!” some responses said.

Others appeared to call for violence against people who supported Yiannopoulos and his “hate crimes.”

“Punish students who commit hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people,” said one response while others said, “support student protests and get the event moved to zoom. give out free pepper spray.”

“I’d feel safer,” said one student, “if there was security present the day of the event [in] case students become violent.”

Others did call for less violent measures by asking for greater support for the school-sponsored “Love is Louder” event.

Students say ‘hate speech’ is not the same as free speech

One of the main questions a number of students asked was why Yiannopoulos could speak on campus. Some said that hate speech is not the same as free speech.

“How is hate speech protected?” asked one student. “That doesn’t seem right. How were students able to get hate speech funded through [University Park Allocation Committee] money? Surely there has to be some sort of standard speakers have to follow?”

A few students expressed the opposite sentiment.

“You may not like it,” one respondent wrote. “But that doesn’t make it illegal.”

However, there were still those who called the event a “fucking puppet show,” and said they want “to humiliate Milo and the platform he speaks on.”

Others said that ignoring Yiannopoulos would be a better way to help others who might not feel “safe.”

“The more you confirm this guy and focus on the ‘safety’ of these students who dislike him the more people will be interested in him. If you want students to feel safe, there are better ways to go about it,” the respondent said.

“Believe it or not, the drinking culture here at this campus is the real scary part about this campus. The geese at the pond [can] also be terrifying,” the student wrote. “Not some edge lord off the internet.”

MORE: NYC mayor delays Milo’s visit

IMAGE: Church Militant

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Gigi De La Torre is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville studying English with a concentration in writing and a minor in political science. She is a member of the Center for Leadership as well as the Great Books Honors Program. She is a member of the women’s soccer team.