We have followed the actions of various universities and colleges to bar conservative speech either by declaring their positions as hate speech or claiming a campus security risk. One of the targets of this content-based censorship has been conservative British commentator Milo Yiannopoulos. Now, Yiannopoulos, 32, has been barred from speaking at his own former grammar school in the United Kingdom: Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury.
Yiannopoulos was to speak at the Simon Langton Grammar School and one would think that the school would be happy to associate with a person who has become an international sensation in speaking for those on the right. One can disagree with his views while celebrating his success in advocating for his views on a global scale.
Notably, with only 24 hours of advertising the event, more than 220 Langton students signed up, with parental consent, for the event. Opposition reportedly came largely from outside of the school.
The talk was cancelled after the Department for Education’s Counter Extremism Unit consulted with the school over safety concerns and the “threat of demonstrations at the school.” The justification found familiar to the spin used by universities like DePaul to deny censoring conservative speech while barring certain speaker. DePaul even threatened to arrest a conservative speaker recently if he tried to enter the campus to address students.
Once again, I have never attended a speech by Yiannopoulos and do not know a great deal about his view. However, he is clearly popular with many young conservatives and his views are part of a rich mosaic of opposing, passionate viewpoints. The effort to prevent him from speaking should be anathema for educational institutions.