The UC Davis chancellor struck noisy protests prevent that extreme right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos and controversial pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli of addressing a campus of the group.
Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter said that the two men had a right to be heard and that he was “deeply disappointed” by the protests, which cancelled their talks at a Friday night event sponsored by the university Republican club.
“Our society is based on principles of respect for all views, even those we personally find repulsive,” Hexter said in a statement: “I have repeatedly said, a university is at his best when he listens to and critically engages opposing views, especially those that many of us find annoying or even offensive.”
Student group cancelled Milo talk as a result of concerns about the safety. No broken windows or other damage to property during protest https://t.co/2l6qw4IaYP
— UC Davis (@ucdavis) January 14, 2017
The university police put up barricades as protesters yelling “shut down” grew increasingly loud in the hours prior to the calls. The UC Davis College Republicans, who sponsored the event, chose to cancel about half an hour before the event began.
“The decision was made in the first instance, because the life of the agents were threatened, the lives of the students were threatened, as well as the property of the school,” the group executive director Andrew Mendoza said, according to KCRA-TV.
Yiannopoulos, who writes for right-wing Breitbart News and is permanently banned from Twitter after leading a campaign against harassment “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones, said on his Facebook page that the event was cancelled after the “violence of the left-wing protesters.”
But the campus police said there was no violence or property destruction, and no arrests were made.
Yiannopoulos is on a college speaking tour, and has drawn similar reaction at other universities, and a lucrative book deal he recently has led to a similar outrage.
Shkreli resigned as the head of the Turing Pharmaceuticals last year after he was charged with securities fraud. He was heavily criticised in 2015 for the increase of the price of a life-saving malaria medication and was recently suspended from Twitter for harassment of a journalist.
Mendoza told KCRA the event is moved to Saturday night on campus at a place and time to be determined.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.