As dozens of students passed the campus bookstore at Cal State Long Beach on Monday, one stood frozen for hours, holding a sign in support of conservative commentators Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro.
“I’m here to stand up for the rights of free speech,” said Jose Espinoza, religious studies major. “People on college campuses always want to to censor individuals like Milo [Yiannopoulos] and [Ben] Shapiro.”
Espinoza said he feels that there are different interpretations of hate speech and as long as someone doesn’t use their words to target a specific person, it’s their right as a U.S. citizen to voice their opinion.
However, some CSULB students see Yiannopoulos in a different light.
“I disagree with [Yiannopoulos], you should never say something to hurt someone else,” said Gabriella Torres-Ortega, a freshman studying chemistry.
Espinoza said he will be attending the Milo Yiannopoulos event at Cal State Fullerton tomorrow and would like to see a conservative speaker come to CSULB.
“A lot of students are passionate about shutting him down,” Espinoza said. “Just because Milo speaks out against feminists and other groups, who’s to say it’s hate speech.”
According to Espinoza, the College Republican chapter and conservative student group Turning Point has been working to bring either Shapiro or Yiannopoulos to campus in the future.
“If [Yiannopoulos] were to come here I’d want to get away from the area,” said Torres-Ortega. “It would make me feel very uncomfortable.”
Espinoza said he hopes that the university will welcome more conservative speakers onto campus.
“I’m not looking for a spotlight or 15 minutes of fame,” Espinoza said. “I’m just standing up for what I believe in.”