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Making Clemson Great: two different approaches on the same night

“Speaking of wisdom, there’s not a lot of it among the faculty at Clemson”

“[The] university doesn’t give enough people a platform to speak. It’s important that they let him come out and talk,” said freshman Nick Whitman about Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to Clemson. 

The event, entitled “Make Clemson Great Again,” sold out two months ago and was sponsored by WeRoar Clemson and Turning Point USA.

 Yiannopoulos is a senior editor for Breitbart News Network and is known as an outspoken free speech advocate and as a leader of the so-called Alt-Right movement, though this is a title which he has refuted on numerous occasions. 

He spoke to nearly 800 students in Tillman Hall, coming out on stage to a cheering crowd wearing a bathrobe gifted to him by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He stood next to a picture of Harambe, the gorilla that was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo, and an image of cartoon character Pepe the Frog, which the Anti-Defamation League recently recognized as a hate symbol. 

Yiannopoulos also used several pictures on screen as props, including one of “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones. He was permanently banned from Twitter in July because of what the social media site called “hate-filled attacks” toward Jones.

“She does look like a man and I will never ever stop saying so, whatever Twitter does,” he said to the crowd.

Yiannopoulos also spoke against feminism, declaring that Oct. 18 is “World Patriarchy Day.” He also criticized professors at Clemson.

“Speaking of wisdom, there’s not a lot of it among the faculty at Clemson,” Yiannopoulos said. “You wonder why your tuition fees keep going up. It is because of hiring professors. Your schools hire burnouts, anarchists and black lives matter activists and they churn out a zombie army of social justice warriors.”

Several of Yiannopoulos’ events have been cancelled due to security concerns. Security was present at Tillman Hall in the forms of police officers, and students were checked by security wands.

Students with WeRoar said there were threats on social media from students who do not support Yiannopoulos’ views. One threat involved throwing eggs and paint at students waiting in line to go into event. In addition, several posters advertising the event around campus have also been ripped down.

Those in attendance had mixed reactions about the event. 

“We are giving a bigot a place to speak in a building named after a white supremacist,” said a student who asked to remain anonymous. “He uses his voice to bully people that are lower than him.”

Nick Willtrout disagreed, saying that it was “refreshing to see free speech being actively defended” and that “words are words, it’s his [Milo’s] right to say whatever he wants.” 

WeRoar plans to continue to fight for free speech at Clemson, turning their focus to “unconstitutional policies that currently infringe on the free expression of students” according to their Facebook page. 

“The history of South Carolina is written on my skin.”

Students across the street in Hardin Hall were having a different conversation.

“The history of South Carolina is written on my skin. I see it every morning when I look in the mirror,” said Professor Rhondda R. Thomas at Clemson’s first ever Critical Black Studies Forum. 

Students from across the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities gathered to discuss issues such as slavery, racial profiling, 

police brutality and the depiction of blacks in the media and history, as well as works by black authors such as W.E.B. DuBois and Frederick Douglass.

One part of the discussion focused on the ways in which history is taught and discussed.

“We’ve been talking about the Holocaust for years but avoid brutality of slavery b/c of the guilt,” tweeted @KatyKoon. “History doesn’t happen in a vacuum: it matters today.” 

@sambalammm added, “To be raised colorblind is to deny the existence and experience of race. History survives 
in skin.”

Other Twitter users voiced their frustration about race and its role on Clemson’s campus. 

“We are living in the erasure of slavery from history. Go to fort hill [sic] and take the tour,” tweeted @tpomishellafine.

Added @JamieWoodruff8, “Our generation is a product of our education. We need to step out of our comfort zones.”

The next forum will take place in Brackett 224 October 28, 7 p.m.

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