Letters to the Editor

Cal Poly fails to stand up for respect in hosting Milo Yiannopoulos

Milo Yiannopoulos speaks at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017.
Milo Yiannopoulos speaks at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Daily Camera via The Associated Press

It is disheartening that in this time of increasing divisiveness and disrespect for others, the Cal Poly College Republicans would invite a man to speak whose message is one of hate and contempt for others, Milo Yiannopoulos.

It is more disheartening that Cal Poly’s leadership would not stand up for the fundamental value of respect for others. Free speech belongs to those who show respect to those who disagree with them. Contempt for others, vilification of others and hate for others have no place in the market of free ideas.

It is the university’s mission to encourage the healthy exchange of ideas and to foster respect for all. Cal Poly has abandoned its mission by hiding behind a principle it little understands. Its 2009 attempt to silence Michael Pollan, a learned man who conducted himself squarely within the bounds of free speech, was obviously based on financial considerations.

The only sensible response is to hit back where it hurts: the pocketbook. To all who care about free speech and reject a message of hate and contempt, to all those who participated in the Women’s March, I say boycott Cal Poly concerts and events. Boycott Cal Poly products. Give your alumni donations to schools that care about basic values.

Carmen Belasco, San Luis Obispo

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