DAVIS — A controversial speaker coming to UC Davis’ campus is sparking a debate over free speech.
Milo Yiannopoulos is a technology editor for news and opinion website, Breitbart News.
The Davis College Republicans are hosting the British journalist who they say is expected to discuss politics, being a gay conservative and free speech.
But some worry free speech may blur the line into hate speech.
“His purpose is specifically to incite people and to get a response from people,” said Glorida Partida, co-chair of the Davis Phoenix Coalition.
Social justice nonprofit Davis Phoenix Coalition is helping circulate an online petition calling for the university and the Davis College Republicans to cancel next month’s event.
They say Yiannopoulos is “racist, sexist, Islamophobic” and a “white nationalist.”
They add that having him on a public university legitimizes his views which might offend some in the campus community.
Mehm Hachimic says he’s open to hearing alternative viewpoints.
"If he wants to express his views he should be allowed to," Hachimic said. "Of course unless he's targeting minorities.”
Another student tells FOX40 he’s not bothered.
"I know some of his ideas are really divisive and controversial but I feel like people should still have the right to speech and be able to express their views freely, even if I don't agree with them,” Akhil Mather said.
Instead of listening to a controversial speaker, the Davis Phoenix Coalition is hoping to create alternative events on the night of Yiannopoulos’ speech.
“The community should hold counter events that promote inclusivity and positiveness in the community,” Partida said.
Yiannopoulos is scheduled to speak Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
The event is sold out, but the Davis College Republicans says many of those tickets were bought by students who will not actually be in attendance.
"Tickets are currently sold out, but we welcome anyone to come anyway, as many in the Davis community have been encouraged to register for a ticket without the intent of attending," the Davis College Republicans stated in a release to FOX40.
"The Davis College Republicans do not condone racism, sexism, or name-calling," the group wrote. "We invite UC Davis students and members of the community to attend and be exposed to views to which they may or may not agree."