UCCS student organizations invite social media provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to speak; Campus leaders continue with previously scheduled university appreciation event

Controversial British author and social media provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos will speak at UCCS Jan. 26 at the invitation of two registered student groups.

The UCCS student chapters of the College Republicans and Turning Point USA invited Yiannopoulos, technology editor for Breitbart News, to speak on campus. The free event will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Upper Lodge on the UCCS campus. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are required. Tickets and other details are available at http://sa1.seatadvisor.com/sabo/servlets/EventSearch?presenter=thw&event=MILO

Yiannopoulos is in the middle of a college speaking tour with nine visits planned at campuses in the Western United States. He will appear at CU Boulder Jan. 25.

As a public university, UCCS does not endorse the views of invited speakers. The university has been the location of presentations by many individuals who offer differing viewpoints on a variety of topics. For example, the campus was visited by Donald Trump in 2016 as well as by Barack Obama, then a United States senator, in 2008.

Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak has encouraged the campus community to reject Yiannopoulos’ rhetoric while explaining his legal right to speak.

“The statements that Mr. Yiannopoulos has made at other campuses are clearly in opposition to the values of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and its commitment to creating an inclusive community that welcomes all,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “Moreover, his tactics of personal denigration, as well as racist and misogynist comments, are both personally reprehensible and contrary to the university’s values of civil, respectful discussion of difference and difficult topics. We ascribe to The Board of Regents’ Guiding Principle that the University of Colorado shall always strive to “provide an outstanding, respectful, and responsive living, learning, teaching, and working environment.”

“At the same time, the University of Colorado system adheres to the freedoms embodied in the United States Constitution, which include the freedom of speech contained in the First Amendment. Under well-established constitutional principles, when a student group invites a speaker, the University of Colorado does not censor the speaker because it disagrees with his viewpoints.”

Shockley-Zalabak’s full statement is available at http://www.uccs.edu/chancellor/values-and-priorities/chancellor-statements/milo-yiannopoulos-visit.html

Following university policy, the UCCS College Republicans and the UCCS Chapter of Turning Point USA will be responsible for all costs associated with the Yiannopoulos visit. No university funds will be utilized.

Also from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 26, UCCS will conduct a university appreciation event open to faculty, staff and students. The university appreciation event is an annual event and was scheduled a year ago. Highlights of that event include comments by Shockley-Zalabak, music by members of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic who will perform works by composer Leonard Bernstein, and a brief video presentation with campus community members stating support for the university’s core values.

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