Administration, students denounce controversial ‘Pray the Gay Away’ speaker coming to Penn State

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CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State administration and student groups are speaking out after the campus organization, Uncensored America, invited controversial media figure Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at University Park on the topics of “free speech, faith, conversion therapy, hair style, and more.”

In a statement, Penn State said Yiannopoulos’s alt-right history disparages various groups, including the LGBTQ community.

“His past presentations on the nation’s college campuses have been antithetical to Penn State’s values, and we share the profound dismay others have already expressed in response to his forthcoming appearance here,” said a Penn State statement.

Despite disagreeing with the speaker, Penn State recognized the first amendment right to have Yiannopoulos’ “Pray the Gay Away” event.

“As offensive and hurtful as Yiannopoulos’s comments have been and are likely to be again, and despite our own abhorrence for such statements and the promotional tactics used, Uncensored America has the undeniable Constitutional right to sponsor this presentation on our campus,” said a Penn State statement. “The University lacks the right to do anything to stop it.”

A petition has garnered over 9,000 signatures in protest of the event. Student organizations have also come forward with statements denouncing the event.

“Our focus is on protecting the LGBTQ community,” said Annmarie Rounds-Sorensen, president of the Penn State College Democrats. “The ideas being expressed at this event are explicitly violent against the LGBTQ community.”

The College Democrats’ statement, co-signed by eight other campus groups, can be found here.

A student-led protest, “Love is Louder”, will take place in the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity on the evening of November 3, coinciding with Yiannopoulos’ event.

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