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UA Students protest Parish, Yiannopoulos with Rose sit-in

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UA Students protest Parish, Yiannopoulos with Rose sit-in

Jacob Arthur

Jacob Arthur

Jacob Arthur

A lone protestor stood outside the Ferguson Center Monday evening before Yiannopolous' speaking engagement. CW / Jake Arthur

Jake Howell

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Starting at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, a group of students gathered in the University President’s office to perform a peaceful protest aimed at bringing forth demands to University President, Dr. Stuart Bell. 

The group brought three demands to university faculty in response to Ryan Parrish’s suspension and Milo Yiannopoulos’ planned appearance that evening in the Ferguson Theater.

“Anyone on campus, regardless of their affiliation with UA… if they’re on campus, and they’re reserving space to speak or host an event, then they must abide by the Capstone Creed and the code of conduct that we tuition-paying students must comply with,” said David Swayne, a sophomore majoring in English. 

This demand would require that speakers like Yiannopoulos, who were not university-affiliated, to act according to university policy as if they were fellow students. 

“We feel that Milo represents hate speech,” Swayne said. 

Protestors also mentioned concerns that Yiannopoulos’ visit would create an unsafe environment for students on campus. 

“Students have to adjust their schedules… they fear for their safety because… there will be students on campus that support Milo, but there are also going to be his supporters who are not members of our community,” said Maya Perry, a junior majoring in English and political science. “They don’t have to adhere to our code of conduct, they can act however they want, and they can put these students at jeopardy.” 

Perry said students of color and those in the LGBTQ+ community may not be safe in an environment when in contact with Yiannopolous’ supporters. 

Another of the protestors’ demands was directed at the almost $7,000 that the University provided to the College Republicans for security for Monday night’s event. 

“[The University] needs to rescind funds given to the University of Alabama College Republicans for the Milo Yiannopoulos speaking engagement security or promise all other source-registered organizations equivalent funding, which is $6,955.20 by the end of the academic year,” Perry said.

The protestors said that this funding was indicative of bias on the University’s behalf for the College Republicans, and that they did not take into account the other 519 source organizations’ difficulties in obtaining funding for similar events. 

Perry said it was disrespectful of the College Republicans to host an inflammatory speaker at a University-sponsored event. 

“I think that other organizations on campus take care to respect certain groups on campus just to make sure that they invite speakers who are not going to directly insult anyone’s existence as is,” Perry said. ” I think it’s very irresponsible of the College Republicans to invite someone like this to speak knowing how insulting he is to certain marginalized people on campus.” 

The group’s third demand focused on the suspension of Ryan Parrish. After last week’s home football game versus the Kentucky Wildcats, the Alabama Student Ticket Exchange Facebook page erupted with arguments regarding a protest staged during the playing of the national anthem. The arguments eventually reached a fever-pitch, resulting in threats against a student at the university invoked by Parrish. 

The threat was brought to university officials’ attention, and Parrish has since been indefinitely suspended and removed from campus.

“Ryan Parrish [should] be expelled from the university indefinitely,” Perry said. “We already know that he has been removed from campus and that he is un-enrolled, but I don’t think that many of us believe that punishment is severe enough.” 

The protestors voiced concerns that Parrish’s beliefs would reflect negatively on the University unless serious punishment was carried out.

“Do we want students who are biased to come from our university and to represent us in this manner,” Perry said. 

Protestors said they were disappointed with what they saw as a lenient statement given by Dr. Bell on Monday morning regarding hate speech on campus. 

College Republicans were contacted for comment, but they did not respond by press time.

While the indefinite suspension can be handed down by the University directly, an expulsion requires judicial review by the vice president of student affairs and the president of the University.

The Crimson White will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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UA Students protest Parish, Yiannopoulos with Rose sit-in