Campus feminists are furious after Milo Yiannopoulos was chosen as a candidate for a senior academic position at a British university.
The provocateur was nominated by students to stand for the position of Rector at the University of Glasgow in Scotland – a job currently held by Edward Snowden.
Yiannopoulos is one of 12 nominees announced by the university on Friday, prompting outrage from alumni and a (temporary) boycott from the feminist society.
Rector is a ceremonial position, and whoever holds it does not have any particular duties.
UofG has received the following nominations for the next election of the Rector. pic.twitter.com/6eAgtStCnp
— Uni of Glasgow (@UofGlasgow) March 3, 2017
As demonstrated by Snowden, who has spent his entire tenure in Russia, the rector is not even required to visit the university.
Students can put forward anybody (except other students) to be rector – all they need is to get ten students, and for their candidate to agree.
A statement by a group of Yiannopoulos supporters said:
The intolerant, authoritarian silence-everyone-who-disagrees-with-me attitude of these people is dangerous to our University, to our society, and frankly to our lives… We need Milo to defend free speech on Glasgow Uni campus. Vote Milo for Rector!
Most of the other nominees are traditional, respectable figures from the worlds of law, politics and academia.
However, Yiannopoulos is also sharing the slate with Professor Jordan Peterson, a psychologist at the University of Toronto who became famous after refusing to use “preferred pronouns” for his students.
Another colourful nominee is Brace Belden, a volunteer soldier in Syria who left the US to fight against ISIS and was recently profiled by Rolling Stone.
Yiannopoulos has embraced his candidacy and encouraged supporters online, especially after outrage at his nomination started to build.
The feminist society promptly declared itself “absolutely DISGUSTED” at his inclusion, and wrote a Facebook post urging a mass boycott of the vote.
However, after realising their strategy would actually make him more likely to win, the society changed its mind and instead pointed people to a petition asking that Yiannopoulos and Peterson be disqualified.
There have since been warnings of riots in Glasgow if Yiannopoulos appears to campaign in person, in the vein of the violent protest at the University of California, Berkeley.
In response Yiannopoulos said he has started to plan a visit. He added: “One trip from me and I’d be sure to win the election.”
Voting opens on March 21st.
Featured image via Getty Images and Flickr/Iain Farrell