Milo Yiannopoulos is Tech Editor of Breitbart News Network, and famous as outspoken and politically incorrect. He’s gay, Catholic and conservative — an unlikely combination on today’s media landscape. In January, he gained even more fame (or notoriety, if you prefer) when Twitter removed its blue “verification” checkmark from his account, provoking charges that it was targeting conservatives and trying to censor free speech.
So when Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at the University of Pittsburgh, it would have come as no surprise that fireworks might follow.
Yiannopoulos unloaded a number of observations that were unpalatable, to put it mildly, to many students. According to the student newspaper, he said people who believe there is a gender wage gap are “idiots.” He described the Black Lives Matter movement as a “supremacy” group. He called feminists “man-haters.”
Strong stuff. But, hey — free speech, right? And besides, attendance wasn’t compulsory. It was just a campus event that students could go to, or not.
Ah, but this today’s American campus, and nothing is that simple.
Apparently, the talk was so “traumatizing” that the it literally drove students to tears. Many felt…you know what word is coming…”unsafe.” So the Student Government Board convened a meeting the very next day.
Marcus Robinson, student and president of the Pittsburgh Rainbow Alliance, said, “I felt I was in danger, and I felt so many people in that room were in danger.” He said the school should have made counselors available, in another room, to “protect” students felt “traumatized” by the opinions offered by Yiannopoulos.
Another student, social work and urban studies major Claire Matway, said, “This is more than hurt feelings, this is about real violence. We know that violence against marginalized groups happens every day in this country. That so many people walked out that event feeling in literal physical danger is not alright.”
Literal physical danger?
The answer, of course, was to create a “safe space” – and a coalition of campus organizations promptly convened a meeting to do just that.
You can read all the details here.
The universities, it seems, are producing a distressingly high number of people who seem to have no ability to cope with contrary opinions. If they feel “unsafe” — to the point of “literal, physical danger” – by some opinions delivered at an event they were under no obligation to attend in the first place, can you imagine the meltdown that await them in the real world?