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Nominating Milo Yiannopoulos for a symbolic role as head of a university caused—you guessed it—outrage

Reuters/Lucas Jackson
Down (or up)? in flames.
By Amy X. Wang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

After resigning from Breitbart News last month and having his book deal canceled over comments that seemed to condone pedophilia, alt-right hero Milo Yiannopoulos already has a new job offer in the works. Predictably, it’s causing no small amount of fury.

The University of Glasgow has nominated Yiannopoulos as one of 12 candidates for the role of rector, a ceremonial position that has no duties but technically ranks as the university’s ceremonial head. Every three years, students at Glasgow elect a new rector to symbolically represent them on the university court; National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is the current rector.

While the university hasn’t said how many votes were behind Yiannopoulos’s nomination, it only takes 10 students—and the agreement of the candidate—to get someone on the list.

Outsized, and immediate, was the reaction. By the end of the weekend, 3,000 people had signed a petition calling forYiannopoulos’s candidacy, along with the candidacy of Canadian professor Jordan Peterson, who’s been accused of transphobia, to be rescinded. The idea of Yiannopoulos as the school’s rector is “utterly inappropriate at best and potentially dangerous at worst,” the petition reads. Glasgow’s feminist society said it will boycott the election as long as he remains on the ballot.

(It’s not clear how much of an effect that will have; there are almost 26,000 students at the college.)

But more importantly, that the alt-right provocateur continues to stir up controversy without lifting a finger, or even being physically present in the place where the controversy is taking place, is both a sign of the unprecedentedly heightened tension in the post-US-election, post-Brexit era, and of Western universities’ increasing protest of political divergence.

Yiannopoulos, who is British, posted, perhaps somewhat smugly, to Facebook last night: ”Currently investigating whether a trip to Glasgow is feasible. One trip from me and I’d be sure to win the election.”

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