Infamous alt-right blogger Milo Yiannopoulos, most recently well-known for his disinvitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) after comments allegedly supportive of pedophilia, per Vox, has been nominated for the position of Rector of Glasgow University. And according to a report from Scottish newspaper The National, university officials fear riots should Yiannopoulos actually show up for the election.
Outrage was sparked when Yiannopoulos’ name was put forth for the largely-ceremonial post of Rector by students, who were also upset by the nomination of University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson, who recently made Canadian headlines for his avowed disrespect for gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them. Peterson, who recorded a series of videos condemning Canada’s moves to make gender identity and gender expression protected categories, was twice warned by the University of Toronto about the potentially-illegal nature of his comments, and his responsibility to his students.
Milo Yiannopoulos, meanwhile, recently lost his book deal and his position with right-wing site Breitbart, formerly run by White House Chief of Staff Steve Bannon. Earlier, in 2016, he was banned permanently from Twitter after comments directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones forced Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to personally step in. Yiannopoulos has also faced protests and near-riots at other stops on his American university tour after administrations refused to cancel his appearances. According to Teen Vogue, he used his appearance at the University of Wisconson-Milwaukee to harass a transgender student in the audience; his appearance at UC Berkeley last month was stopped by protests after reports alleged that he planned to use the event to target undocumented immigrants, according to The Independent.
Now, the pair have been nominated by students to be named Rector of Glasgow University. And while the position is largely ceremonial, many students also consider the student-nominated and elected Rector to be essential to shaping the university’s policies; one of the Rector’s chief responsibilities is representing the interests of the student body, working with the Students Representative Council, as well as chairing the university’s court. The current incumbent is NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Other nominees include lawyer Aamer Anwar, former Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable, and Lady Hazel Cosgrove. According to the university, “all nominees have personally agreed to take part in the election.”
That’s the official line. But according to one unnamed academic, “we really hope he [Yiannopoulos] doesn’t turn up.”
“There’ll be riots. The last thing we want is for the university to go up in flames just because some students have got drunk and nominated this racist, sexist, homophobic bully for what is actually an important position.”
According to the Scotland Herald, students fronted by Glasgow University’s Holly Hallam have already begun circulating a petition demanding that both Yiannopoulos and Peterson be removed from the running.
“Glasgow University students are appalled to learn that known transphobes Milo Yiannopoulos and Professor Jordan Peterson have been deemed appropriate as eligible candidates for the position of University Rector.
“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.”
Yiannopoulos posted a brief response to the nomination on his Facebook page.
“Tip for Glasgow students: Literally nothing will annoy your professors more than this.”
Peterson, meanwhile, has remained mostly silent on the nomination beyond sharing a pair of articles about it on Twitter.
Glasgow University Femsoc has also called for a boycott of the election should Yiannopoulos not be removed from the ballot, although this could have the unintended consequence of getting him elected.
“We are absolutely disgusted to see Milo Yiannopoulos on the rector nomination list.”
Currently, the Glasgow University Rector election is set to run from March 20 to 21 with all listed candidates.
[Featured Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]