The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Yiannopoulos event and protests leave students reeling

Protesters took the stage during Milo Yiannopoulos' speech Tuesday, interrupting it. A chaotic scene ensued after protesters and supporters spilled across campus. (Josh Leff / The DePaulia)
Protesters took the stage during Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech Tuesday, interrupting it. A chaotic scene ensued after protesters and supporters spilled across campus. (Josh Leff / The DePaulia)

Milo Yiannopoulos’ now-infamous appearance on campus Tuesday night may have been shut down early, but its aftershocks are still settling throughout the DePaul community as students struggle reconcile ideologies, anger and fear.

The rally, which was cancelled after protesters took the stage about 15 minutes into an interview session with Yiannopoulos, came after weeks of tension following this week’s oil paint incident in the Quad and the so-called “chalkening” last month. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that the student body is caught between a messy jumble of opinions.

Alex Bednar, a freshman, said he joined the protest on the Quad spontaneously after reading through Yiannopoulos’ Twitter feed. He stayed with the protest group until Yiannopoulos left campus, an experience he described as being “chaotic.”

“It was almost hard to differentiate who was on which side, who was standing for what,” Bednar said. “It turned into a lot of vulgarity on both sides, chanting very mean speeches at each other.”

He said he thinks there should have been a better dialogue between the two parties involved, especially given the timing of the event.

“I do entirely believe in the freedom of speech and the idea that people are allowed to say and express their views in any context that they want,” Bednar said. “However, I also am a firm believer in timing and location. The example I had was that it’s kind of like how if someone wanted to make a World War II joke in a Holocaust museum, nothing is legally stopping you from saying that. But given the context of where you are, it’s probably not the best choice.”

For some, though, it’s difficult to justify shutting the event down. Sophomore Brock Pace, who was at the rally, said he likes the way Yiannopoulos pushes the boundaries of free speech — even though he doesn’t agree with most of the content of that speech – and hoped protesters would approach Yiannopoulos during the event’s designated question-and-answer session.

“I think the Q&A probably would have been moderated in a way that would skew toward Milo, but if people were going to do the whole protest thing and try to shut down the event, maybe they could have tried instead to have an actual dialogue about what he thinks,” Pace said, adding that he wishes he could have confronted Yiannopoulos about some of his more controversial opinions. “He’s said some terrible things that I don’t agree with that I could have talked to him about.”

Freshman Joey Traverso also said that he disagrees with the way the protest inside the rally was carried out, despite his dislike of Yiannopoulos’ message and rhetoric. He felt that by forcing the event to be cancelled, the protesters were misrepresenting the bulk of students who don’t support Yiannopoulos but still wanted to let him speak.

“The idea isn’t to silence people’s voices,” Traverso said. “Ultimately I think it’s an unfair representation of people who disagree with (Yiannopoulos’) point of views.”

Other students were upset and disappointed they didn’t get the chance to hear Yiannopoulos finish his talk. Freshman Brendan Howard is a member of College Republicans, the organization that planned and fundraised the event. He said he feels like DePaul was biased against his club’s conservative viewpoints, and that the school effectively “picked a side” by allowing the rally to be cancelled.

“We expected protests. I mean, there are videos of him speaking at other schools and that always happens,” Howard said. “But if that happens at other schools, security removes them. DePaul needs to stand by that and respect that this is a private event.”

Howard added that he thinks DePaul should pay for the charges incurred for the event by both the College Republicans and Yiannopoulos, who reportedly paid an extra $1000 in security fees.

“If we protested one of their events, we would be removed,” Howard said. “And we would expect that. I think that’s a reasonable expectation.”

And yet for some students, Yiannopoulos’ particular rhetoric seems to go beyond the realm of free speech. Daniella Mazzio, a junior, wasn’t at the event or the protest. She said she figured it would be similar to the March rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump at UIC – controversial, but not fully on her radar. But after watching several videos of its aftermath and hearing stories from friends and acquaintances, she said she finds it hard to dismiss Yiannoupolos’ words, as well as those of his supporters, as a mere exertion of First Amendment rights.

“It’s just really disconcerting and upsetting and kind of nauseating to hear (free speech) be the excuse or the pass to why this happened, and to fully put shame on the protesters,” Mazzio said. “I think you can make fair arguments that maybe the protest wasn’t carried out in the best way, but to completely silence them as you are saying you believe in free speech is the most appalling part of all of this.”

For others like Avery Cunningham, racially charged rhetoric has created a frightening situation. DePaul received reports of a noose found on campus Thursday.

“I was angry first. Then I was seized by a very deep fear,” Cunningham said. “I feared for my safety. (Coming from the south) I haven’t seen anything like this before.”

In an email sent out Wednesday afternoon, DePaul President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., called for exploring “underlying differences around race, gender and orientation that were made evident in yesterday’s events.” That kind of sentiment, reflective of a desire for an open dialogue between groups on campus, was reiterated by many students as a path forward.

“I think the major solution would be communication between all parties. That would include the College Republicans and the protesters and other groups of people that may be offended by it,” Bednar said. “Not social media dialogue, but actual dialogue between person, school and person.”

At this time, no official plans have been put into place as to how to execute this dialogue.


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  • L

    Liam RedmondJun 2, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Can’t believe you guys actually gave time in this article to imply that these protesters were somehow justified in doing what they did because they, without authority, arbitrarily decide some parts of Mr. Yiannopoulis speech somehow do not classify as free speech. Absolutely disgusting. We have a word for people like you and that word is scum. But fascist could quite easily apply too. They usually go hand in hand. The sad part is that these people you are facilitating DePaul don’t even seem to realise they’re helping to destroy their own country. They don’t understand a good thing when they’ve got it or recognize the privilege that they have, or rather how privileged they are to have what they have.

  • D

    dvrmteMay 31, 2016 at 7:38 am

    DePaul, remove your Communist professors or your university goes to Hell. That’s the bottom line. I predict your university is going to Hell.

  • J

    Joe SchmoeMay 29, 2016 at 7:21 am

    like… what… are… you… trying… to… say…?

  • D

    Doug LefelhoczMay 28, 2016 at 10:12 am

    “It’s just really disconcerting and upsetting and kind of nauseating to
    hear (free speech) be the excuse or the pass to why this happened, and
    to fully put shame on the protesters,”

    No. It is disconcerting that people have excused those who wanted to silence Milo. It also is disconcerting to label these silencers as “protestors” as if their actions were legitimate. Additionally, it comes as disconcerting to see a lie which basically says that the protestors have shame fully put on them, when they aren’t getting prosecuted.

  • L

    LuLuMay 28, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Awwww, do widdle tiddy babies need their safe spaces?

  • N

    NanoNapsMay 28, 2016 at 4:14 am

    Yeah, “the timing is important”.

    Sure thing that a leftist was the one writing the grafitti <- hoax
    After DePaul drops in reviews and the presidents writes an "apology" you suddenly find a rope (not a noose, go check what a noose is) <- screams hoax.

    This is not a news site, it is simply leftist propaganda site.

  • T

    TheBibo SezMay 28, 2016 at 1:45 am

    DePaul now looks to the outside world like a joke of a university populated by thugs and their do-nothing cronies in the administration. The stage-jumpers should be expelled and the administration sacked, along with all Social Justice-related classes. There is no Christian truth nor free inquiry at DePaul.

  • C

    Chicago JoeMay 27, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    When you get out into the real world you will fail. Since you Marxist scum are doing everything you can do destroy this country, there will be nothing that can save you from yourselves.

    I’ll take solace that your kind will starve to death first as the fires burn around me.

  • M

    Mina17May 27, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    A noose on campus. So who wants to place a bet that it was a leftist SJ whiner who did it to stoke the fears of racism?

    • P

      popehentaiMay 28, 2016 at 12:44 am

      the image of the “noose” looks more like a truck tiedown fell off someones cargo, its a simple knot, a few feet of cord, and frayed rope.

  • M

    MuzzlehatchMay 27, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Love it that these people are attemting to defend the indefensible. They think they can keep this on campus and deconstruct it in some post modernist double speak.

    • C

      ChicagoJohnMay 28, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      When you say “keep this on campus”… you mean, speech you disagree with?
      How will you live when you get off campus, and have to hear what others have to say?

  • B

    Brad D.May 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    The best thing about these comments is the sound of crickets coming from the sjw camp.

    They don’t want a dialogue. They want a monologue.

    *goes back to watching PCU*

  • B

    BotzuMay 27, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Saying, “i believe in free speech, however” is the new “im not a racist, but”. Trying to stay neutral in a situation like this isn’t going to work. You are bound to just piss off everyone.

  • R

    Reader_in_ColoradoMay 27, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    When people simply disagree with the PC fascist agenda, the reaction is the shouting of obscenities, deprivation of the freedom to speak one’s mind and mob violence. These folks look more like 3rd graders as opposed to college students …

  • S

    Sven Åke SvenssonMay 27, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    As a student newspaper. Why do you not report on the different issues the Faculty has? They are to blame in this. This is not something that just happened when Milo came to you. This in fact has been brewing for years on end. The evidence against professors are piling up all over the internet. You even have ISIS sympatizers teaching on campus.
    I understand that you students are scared now. With good reason too. What have you learned during your time there? What have you not seen but should be obvious? But i tell you this. You can all do great. But you need to be more critical to those telling you things. Do not just follow the plans that the teachers use. Investigate them. Why is it in the plan.
    I wish you the best of luck.

  • P

    Paul CavanaughMay 27, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Where are the examples of all this hate speech? “Feminism is a cancer” isn’t hate speech, it’s a well reasoned opinion that illustrates the fact that Feminists urge discrimination and censorship. There are feminist videos calling for all men to be put into camps for god sake, where is the outrage over that?

    OMG Milo said microaggressions aren’t real??? OH NOES Milo is a conservative? HORROR OF HORRORS he wants Trump to win?

    The reason there are never any examples given of the so called hate speech is because it isn’t real. BLM members can be as racist as they want and no one cares. Milo says they should grow up and stop being babies? Call the police!!

    It’s time to take the babies out of the safe space playpens and show them the real world.

  • S

    Scott CreedonMay 27, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    “World War II joke in a Holocaust museum” are you interviewing those who are ‘special”

  • S

    stephenlightMay 27, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    If you are so fragile that speech makes you fold like a cheap suitcase, you have some very nasty surprises in life coming. If you need to shut down a speech that you disagree with, then you are a totalitarian. Plain and simple.

    I looked at the list of Emergent Speakers invited to campus. It was a parade of every soft headed cause of the Left imaginable. If a cadre of campus Reublicans had behaved at one of these speeches as the dim witted Milo protestors did, they likely would have been arrested and escorted off campus.

    There is a reckoning coming for these delicate flowers and it is likely to come from quarters they least expect it from. Their competition is not only the Campus Rebulicans. It is far more diligent students in East Asia studying actual topics in technology. It is also automation. There are only so many slots in cloistered sociology departments to go around.

    The frost is coming and these folks will be the first to feel the chill.

  • C

    Crow_T_Robot65May 27, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Ah, left wing fascist crybullies strike again. The causes you espouse look weak and foolish if they rely on silencing dissent.

  • A

    AmandaMay 27, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you. I completely agree. The only speech I saw being suppressed was Milo, the speakers, the republican students, and Katie. I have no idea what video those snowflakes were watching.

  • C

    CrippenMay 27, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    The noose on campus was another hoax planted by a student to get attention. Any time anyone finds a noose, or paints hate speech, or has something iced onto a cake, you can bet they’re lying about it to claim victimhood. Your reporting is pathetic.

    • J

      Jamesf67May 27, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      The “noose” as seen in the twitter pictures making the rounds was a bit of frayed rope with a simple hitch tied in it. If it were intended as a racist symbol it would have had a full hangman’s knot and be hanging from a tree limb.
      What we have is someone dropped the tie down from their trunk and a bunch of hypersensitive crybullies flooded the twitter feed for morons.

      • C

        ChicagoJohnMay 28, 2016 at 7:50 pm

        I hope that no one on campus goes to the boat docks. The amount of “nooses” that they’ll encounter there will be enormous.

    • J

      Jamesf67May 27, 2016 at 10:20 pm

      It wasn’t even a noose, just a piece of rope on the sidewalk.

      • C

        ChicagoJohnMay 28, 2016 at 7:49 pm

        Balls. That’s a noose???
        If someone is getting themselves into a tizzy because they saw a piece of knotted rope that formed a loop?
        I can’t take any complaint from the people on that campus seriously anymore.

  • P

    Pooch NastyMay 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Great job proving to the world, once again, that US Universities are bubble universes filled with coddled, emotionally-underdeveloped toddlers. These young “adults” are incapable of functioning in normal human society. They are doomed. It’s time to clean-up the university system – get the cultists and indoctrination out.

  • F

    fatunclesamMay 27, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    GenX has raised a generation of gigantic babies

  • D

    Donaldo DisgraziaMay 27, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Universities have become brainwashing centers of failed Stalinists whose only pleasure in life is indoctrinating the young into their vile ideology because they are intellectually incapable of defending their beliefs in the open so they have to manipulate young people to act as criminals to enforce political correctness.

    American universities have become show trials of the left just like they had in the Soviet Union and Red China, where you had ideologically orthodox young people shout down and violently purge those who weren’t politically correct.

    The fact is leftists despise freedom. So Americans have a choice. You either side with freedom or you side with left-wing totalitarianism. It really is that simple.

  • E

    Ed DraperMay 27, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Vulgar. The black racists who caused the disruption should be expelled and Holtschneider fired. This is an absolute abomination. You force them to get more security, then tell the security to do nothing while a pair a black racists make a circus of your institution.

  • A

    Atlas_ShruggedMay 27, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    DePaul looks idiotic here.

    • T

      The_EschatonMay 27, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      You misspelled “is”.

      • J

        Joe CavanaughMay 28, 2016 at 8:23 am

        No he didn’t.

        • Q

          Quest for LibertyJun 5, 2016 at 6:01 pm

          oh, honey