Anti-fascist Mobilisation at Glasgow University
Anti-fascist mobilisation at Glasgow University in response to the nomination of Milo Yiannopoulos and Jordan Peterson, whose controversial rhetoric has been criticized for targeting minorities, for rector.
Students and members of the public held an anti-fascist rally outside Glasgow University on Thursday, in protest over controversial nominations for the university’s rectorship.
Milo Yiannopoulos, former editor of controversial right-wing website Breitbart, and Jordan Peterson, the outspoken Canadian professor, have been nominated as one of 12 candidates to replace Edward Snowden, the NSA whistle-blower, as rector.
Masters student Panos Theodoropoulos, one of the organizers of the demonstration, said: “We will be protesting not only to show that these views are not welcome on our campus, but also that we will stand in solidarity with and support those members of our community that these views target.”
He added: “To be clear, we do not equate Jordan Peterson with the fascist troll Yiannopoulos. However, both represent to varying degrees of intolerant trope, currently on the rise in the West, of privileged voices that seek to silence and oppress others.”
During the demonstration, which started outside the main gate of the university, the protestors shouted “Free speech No Hate Speech” and “Milo is not welcomed here”.
Yiannopoulos responded to the nomination for rector in an interview with BBC Scotland, saying that, If elected, he would bring an end to what he deemed the “snowflake culture”.
He then said he would ban the Students Muslim Association, calling their members “representatives of a homophobic, theocratic system”. Yiannopoulos added that the city of Glasgow was a “great town despite its garrulous dranks and drab, spiky-haired lesbian ‘comedians'”.
A University of Toronto professor, Peterson has similarly faced significant criticism after presenting his controversial views on gender neutral pronouns and transgender people.
In an interview with CBC radio, he said: “I don’t believe that it’s reasonable for our society to undermine the entire concept of binary gender in order to hypothetically accommodate a tiny minority of people.”
A Change.org petition has been set up, calling for Glasgow University to revoke the nominations of Yiannopoulos and Peterson. The petition – which, as of the time of writing, has attracted over 3,600 supporters – states: “The transphobic, misogynistic, violent ideologies perpetrated by these candidates not only put vulnerable students at the University at risk of harm, but are in direct violation of the University’s Equality & Diversity Policy.
“Their inclusion as candidates is utterly inappropriate at best and potentially dangerous at worst. We therefore demand that the senate revoke both Peterson’s and Yiannopoulos’s candidacies to ensure the safety and well-being of the University’s students.”
The university’s Equality and Diversity Policy “aims to ensure equality of opportunity and fair treatment for everyone”, including members of the LGBT community.
In a statement on Facebook, Theodoropoulos noted the inconsistency between the university’s policy and the allowance of both Yiannopoulos and Peterson to remain on the ballor.
“Both have expressed views that are diametrically opposed to the University’s Equality Policy,” he wrote. “By claiming ‘neutrality’ over this issue, the University refuses to guarantee the safety of its own students and ridicules its proclaimed ‘inclusive’ credentials.”
A Facebook page supporting Yiannopoulos’ candidacy for rector – Milo for Rector – University of Glasgow – has attracted over 3,300 likes.
Glasgow University has thus far refused to remove either candidate from the ballot.
Speaking with The Independent, Ameer Ibrahim, President of Glasgow University Students’ Representative Council, said: “We would advise that all of our students make an informed decision regarding who they will vote for in the upcoming elections.”
Ibrahim advised that students choose a candidate who “reflects the values of our University” and “will be approachable to all students at the University.”
Elections are due to take place on 20th March.