A man was shot and seriously wounded at the University of Washington Friday night outside a building where Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart writer who has been inflaming campuses with his comments about race and gender, was speaking. Details were not available on the shooting victim or on a suspect now in custody. The shooting victim is in the hospital.
As at many other campuses, Yiannopoulos drew protests and there were clashes -- mostly verbal but some involving the throwing of objects -- between Yiannopoulos fans waiting to get in and those protesting. The Seattle Times described some of the chants that took place, with those supporting Yiannopoulos shouting "white power" and those opposed shouting back "Nazi scum."
Prior to the event, many urged the university to call off the speech.
But Ana Mari Cauce, the university's president, declined to do so, citing the values of free expression. In a statement, Cauce criticized Yiannopoulos. "I want to state clearly, especially to the thousands of people who have contacted my office with concerns about an upcoming visit by a speaker known for racist and misogynist provocation, that we understand and empathize with their objections and frustration. The statements he has made at other campuses are clearly in opposition to the University of Washington’s values …. He is not someone I would ever invite to speak here, not because I don’t value a robust or difficult discussion about a range of policies or social issues -- such conversations are necessary and college campuses are ideal places to have them -- but because this is clearly not the kind of conversation he is seeking. He generates heat, not light, and his manner of engagement is anything but civil, respectful or conducive to true dialogue across differences, of which we need more, not less."
She added that the university would not block his right to speak, however. "The right to free speech and expression is broad and allows for speech that is offensive and that most of us would consider disrespectful, and even sexist or racist. As a public university committed to the free exchange of ideas and free expression, we are obligated to uphold this right," she said.