Students discuss upcoming Yiannopolous visit in new SGA meeting format

By Connor Schlegel

Student Body Vice President Mac McIntyre introduced the very first Open Student Forum discussion topic at Wednesday night’s Student Government Association meeting.

Designating a specific topic of discussion for the Open Student Forum portions of SGA meetings was an idea initiated by Professor Hillar Klandorf, SGA faculty advisor. Student Body President Julie Merow highly endorsed the initiative, seeing it as a possible way to increase student involvement in SGA, a problem her administration has been tackling since they took office in March.

The inaugural forum topic focused on controversial Breitbart News tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ upcoming campus event on Nov. 2 at the Gluck Theater.

The visit is part of Yiannopoulos’ college tour, which has him scheduled to visit approximately 40 college campuses from all around the nation by January.

Yiannopoulos, who is commonly dubbed as a member of the ever-growing “alt-right” side of politics, is well known for his controversial remarks on hot button issues like feminism, race and sexual assault, among other things.

Earlier this spring, Yiannopoulous embarked on a similar college tour that incited dozens of protests on college campuses across the nation.

Yiannopoulous was invited to speak on campus by the WVU College Republicans a couple weeks ago, and not long after the University released a statement defending the appearance, but acknowledging the discontent held by some students.

“We value everyone’s right to free speech,” the statement reads, “even when that speech is unpopular.”

At SGA’s discussion, several students voiced their opinions on Yiannopoulos’ upcoming visit to campus to speak, both opposed to and in favor of the appearance.

SGA Events Director Isaac Obioma said a controversial speaker like Yiannopoulos should be allowed to speak on campus, but should not be invited by a student organization.

“As a minority, I was kind of alarmed by some of the stuff that he had to say. Especially dismissing rape and the things he said about members of the LGBTQ community,” Obioma said.

Marcus Campbell, director of the College Republican’s legislative affairs, felt differently about Yiannopoulos’ scheduled speech.

“I think it’s quite ridiculous that the College of Business and Economics refused to let Milo speak in its building,” Campbell said. “As a taxpayer-funded University, until this becomes a private university, that should not be allowed.”

Also on Wednesday, the Board of Senators approved several grants, all passed via unanimous consent:

The Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association was granted $156.23 to purchase science experiment equipment for outreach events at local schools.

– The Organization for Native American Interests was granted $500 to reserve a bus for a trip to the Native American Museum in Washington, D.C. The event is open to the entire University.

The Student Society for Landscape Architects was granted $1,350 for lodging at a nationally recognized conference from March 23 to the 25 at the University of Maryland.

The Student Therapy Music Association was granted $1,590 for lodging for the National Music Therapy Conference in Sandusky, Ohio.

The Circus Arts Club was granted $450 to cover the cost of purchasing new circus equipment.

Men’s Club Baseball and Women’s Club Lacrosse were granted $530 and $520 respectively to purchase new equipment.

The Chinese Club was granted $475 for Chen Dynasty costumes and four new sets of Chinese chess and checkers.

The Student Nurse Association was granted $1,600 for lodging at a national conference in Dallas from April 5 to the 9.

The Board of Senators also unanimously approved the appointment of Julia Durbin as the Director of the Diversity Committee.

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