After the protests at UC Berkeley, a lot has been made about free speech and the rights of students. UC Berkeley has a student code of conduct that prohibits harassment. I’m sure this conduct code is similar to that of every college or university.
Harassment is defined as conduct that is so severe and/or pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so substantially impairs a person's access to University programs or activities, that the person is effectively denied equal access to the University's resources and opportunities on the basis of the person’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, alienage, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status, physical or mental disability, or perceived membership in any of these classifications.
What everyone seems to be overlooking in this situation is that Milo Yiannopoulos violated that code when he spoke at University of Wisconsin, Miluakee where he featured the harassment of a UW student as part of his presentation
He spoke at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where he was invited by a conservative student group, and he used his platform to mock a transgender student, displaying her name and photo prominently onscreen.
In critiquing leftist criticism of the phrase “man up,” Yiannopoulos said around the 49:52 mark, “I’ll tell you one UW-Milwaukee student that does not need to man up.” He then showed the student’s photo. “Have any of you come into contact with this person?” he asked. “This quote unquote nonbinary trans woman forced his way into the women’s locker rooms this year.” He went on:
“I see you don’t even read your own student media. He got into the women’s room the way liberals always operate, using the government and the courts to weasel their way where they don’t belong. In this case he made a Title IX complaint. Title IX is a set of rules to protect women on campus effectively. It’s couched in the language of equality, but it’s really about women, which under normal circumstances would be fine, except for how it’s implemented. Now it is used to put men in to women’s bathrooms. I have known some passing trannies in my life. Trannies — you’re not allowed to say that. I’ve known some passing trannies, which is to say transgender people who pass as the gender they would like to be considered.”
He then referred to the photo, which was still onscreen, and said, “Well, no. The way that you know he’s failing is I’d almost still bang him.” The audience laughed.
To UW’s credit, Chancellor Mark Mone immediately released a statement blasting this situation, but it is a pretty weak response to a totally predictable attack
“I will not stand silently by when a member of our campus community is personally and wrongly attacked.” He goes on to say that “I am disappointed that this speaker chose to attack a transgender student.”
Disappointment seems pretty mild. The student who was attacked responded with a furious email that pulls zero punches. It is a long read but worth it. I will include a few paragraphs here.
This also isn’t just a case of a speaker going off an a tangent like that, like some random occurrence. It was not a case where you had no way of knowing he would do this. Quite the contrary: Milo has a supremely extensive, highly-documented track record of doing precisely this. As I’ve already said, YOU KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN. WE TOLD YOU IT WOULD. AND WE TOLD YOU AGAIN. AND AGAIN. But you brushed this off under “muh free speech” bullshit.
Do tell me, if someone invited a fucking modern Hitler to campus, would you allow that? Because that’s what your bullshit argument says. How about David Duke of the KKK, can we invite him? Or how about Andrew Anglin, the self-proclaimed Nazi who runs the Daily Stormer website? (Yes, he is an actual Nazi. That is not hyperbole.) Can we invite him? Genuine question. You’ve already allowed a fascist on campus, so can we invite a full-fledged Nazi? Are there no bounds? Maybe we should invite a radical who advocates burning down Chapman Hall, because speakers like that can be found (and no, me typing that sentence is not a threat to destroy property. “Words don’t hurt anyone” as the fascist you defended last night would say.)
Free speech does not cover harassment, and that’s exactly what Milo did to me. But hey, do email about hashtagging #UWMstandstogether as if that fucking accomplishes anything. Damn, you fucking liberals really drive me up the wall. Now you can spend all of 10 seconds making some half-assed tweet, give it a cute hashtag, and go about your day feeling like you did something. NO. YOU DON’T GET CREDIT FOR THAT. YOU ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING. ...Good grief…UWM “stands together”…as you fucking call the police on students who tried to petition you…as you divide and attack marginalized students while saying you want unity…as you allow a fascist to use “free speech” as an pretense to harass and attack. The amount of doublethink here is just incredible.
What I did not anticipate was being specifically targeted and called out in the way he did. I hadn’t said anything or made even the slightest disruption: He had his harassment of me planned out well in advance. I’m sitting there and I hear him say “(my name” and I just froze up. I have never, ever, ever been more terrified in my life of being outed. Ever. He put my picture up, which as already stated, was taken from a prior period when my masculine features were significantly more sharp and extremely noticeable. And I am sitting there frozen in total terror that somebody around me would recognize me, point me out, and incite the mob of the room against me. Nobody did point me out, thank god. But do you have ANY idea how much power Milo had and how it feels to pray that your ability to “pass” doesn’t fail you now? That’s what it was like.
This is a real world student who suffered real harm at the hands of a speaker invited to the UW campus. UC Berkeley should not have allowed him to speak. I also think the organizations that issued the invitations should have been held accountable. I want the president of whatever Republican club involved to be forced to give a statement and have his name attached to Milo’s forever in Google-land.
I’ll just close with another paragraph from the student’s heartbreaking email in case anyone is still mumbling “free speech”
Honest to god, if any student said or did that to me, it would be a complete and total violation of university policy on harassment. NO student could say those things and get away with it. NOBODY. BECAUSE FOR THE 100TH FUCKING TIME, HARASSMENT AND VERBALLY ASSAULTING PEOPLE IS NOT FREE SPEECH. But if they bring in an outside speaker who does THE SAME EXACT FUCKING THING, then apparently it’s okay because “free speech.” Seriously, do you not comprehend how contradictory and fucked-up your logic is?