After the riots in Berkeley over Milo’s scheduled appearance, University of Chicago professor Rachel Fulton Brown wrote a defense of Milo in a university publication, Sightings. Brown said Milo scares students because he challenges what they’re being taught.
“Their minds are already open—and being filled with what they are given in place of religion: multiculturalism; race, class, gender; the purportedly secular ideals of socialism and Marxism. Particularly for those students, and faculty, who have little to no religious education outside of school, these ideals have become their faith. This is why students and faculty find Milo so threatening. He not only challenges them to examine beliefs they have never been taught to question. Thanks to his near charismatic appeal as a speaker, at least for those who attend his talks rather than stand outside protesting, he holds out the possibility of conversion, of changing hearts and minds.”
In response, professors and students began writing rebuttals and denouncing Brown. Most recently, a group of graduate students at the school released an open letter on May 11 in the Chicago Maroon calling Brown a white nationalist. According to the letter, “we are compelled to contextualize Fulton Brown’s argument in our current political climate and wish to insist on further concrete actions from the Divinity School moving forward. These actions must cultivate an environment where all students are free not merely to express themselves but to exist as they are. No institution can thrive while significant portions of its population are at risk of being marked, targeted, threatened, or silenced.”
Additionally, “The publication of Fulton Brown’s article must be understood in its proper context: the escalation of bigotry and its violent effects, both locally and nationally. In fact, the central ideas Fulton Brown relates in her essay resonate with and act as means of harassment and recruitment common to the informal coalition of the self-identified alt-right.” According to the students, the publication “has provided a platform for the proliferation and mobilization of white supremacy, nativism, and patriarchal chauvinism.”