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UW President Shares What Universities Should Equip Students With In Free Speech Issue


University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce faced backlash last month after she did not intervene in blocking the event of Milo Yiannopoulos in campus. The Breitart News editor was invited to speak by a student Republican club.

The speech, which was scheduled last Jan. 20, was sold out. Seattle Times reported that it was held in the largest lecture hall in Kane Hall, which has the capacity to hold about 700 people. The event was met with protests, though. A 29-year-old senior at UW even turned himself in after he shot at a protester outside where the event took place. Patch noted that the victim, who was 34 years old, got shot in the abdomen and obtained a serious wound.

Nonetheless, UW President Ana Mari Cauce did not stop the event from happening. This comes even though several students expressed their concerns that Yiannopoulos' message endorsed hatred as well as harassment of women, gay people and minority groups.

Speaking to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Washington President admitted that she believes that it is important not to have American campuses become "gated communities in order to try to maintain safety." She added that the most important thing that universities and colleges need to do is to emphasize the mission of promoting diversity and inclusion as well as equipping students with strong analytic tools that they can use to do critical analysis.

Ms. Cauce explained that universities and colleges should have space for protest and space for having "more measured dialogues in the classroom." She admitted that one of the reasons why the University of Washington allowed Milo Yiannopoulos to continue with the event is because it seemed unfair to block his speech but not shut down a Black Lives Matter protest.

She also addressed the shooting that happened during the protests, describing it as "horrendously awful." However, she did clarify that she believes that UW was prepared for it and that the situation was "contained."

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