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Yiannopoulos' Cal Poly return sparks alternative student events 

Cal Poly's University Union is usually buzzing with students weekdays, but April 26 was the exception. It was the second time that Cal Poly Republicans hosted controversial "alt-right" activist Milo Yiannopoulos.

click to enlarge CAMPUS DIVIDED Aside from the line of event attendees, Milo Yiannopoulos' second visit to Cal Poly was quiet. - PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • CAMPUS DIVIDED Aside from the line of event attendees, Milo Yiannopoulos' second visit to Cal Poly was quiet.

The Cal Poly Republicans and Cal Poly's Turning Point USA chapter hosted a "fake news panel" in the Mott Athletic Center (across from the University Union), which featured Yiannopoulos and YouTube personalities Austen Fletcher and Carl Benjamin.

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong called for civility ahead of the event, inviting students to an alternative event at Poly Canyon Village that provided students with food and entertainment.

When Yiannopoulos visited the campus early last year during his "Dangerous Faggot" college tour, the university heightened security to keep the peace. The $55,400 bill included SLO city police support, California State University police officers, and Department of Correction officers in addition to Poly's campus police. This year the university gated off the Mott Athletic Center, and Cal Poly police, officers from other California State Universities, and a SWAT team were present.

But the turnout opposing the event was low compared to the protesters who swarmed last year's event. A handful of students quietly held signs in protest there. Members from the San Luis Obispo chapter of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) played a hand drum, tambourine, and other instruments.

Sarah Brotzel a senior liberal studies major, was sitting with her friend in the University Union in protest of the fake news panel. She said the panel should have been canceled, and creating the alternative event didn't encourage students to express their viewpoints.

"It's in Poly Canyon Village, which is the complete opposite side of campus, which is a safer space, but the message [of the event] could be taken as, 'Instead of being at the event or being against the event, be a little more complacent and do something fun,'" Brotzel said. "I'm just trying to be here for people who are either afraid or maybe hesitant to be here." Δ


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