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Controversial commentator Milo Yiannopoulos to appear at Penn State, despite protests

The talk will focus on "free speech, faith, conversion therapy, hairstyle, and more," and the event's tagline is "Pray the Gay Away."

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Editor's note: The above video is from 2017. 

British alt-right political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos will visit Penn State University, despite a Change.org petition calling for the cancellation of the event, as well as University leaders denouncing his visit, according to the Daily Collegian, Penn State's student-run newspaper.

Yiannopoulos was invited by the student organization Uncensored America, also according to the Daily Collegian.

The event will be held on Penn State's campus in the Thomas Building at 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 3, according to the event's webpage. The talk will focus on "free speech, faith, conversion therapy, hairstyle, and more," and the event's tagline is "Pray the Gay Away." 

Shortly after Yiannopoulos visit was announced, "Pray the Gay Away" posters started popping-up on Penn State's campus, prompting the creation of the Change.org petition entitled, "End Hate Speech at Penn State University Park." 

"Implying that one needs to 'pray the gay away' means that homosexuality is a choice and implies it is the wrong choice," the petition reads. "This is not the message that we should be sending students or prospective students touring the campus for the first time." 

Also upsetting to some students is the fact that the event was partially funded by the University Park Allocation Committee, also according to the Daily Collegian. This means that student tuition was used to fund this program. The petition says that it is "incredibly insulting" that LGTBQ students "are having their own tuition money used to promote hate speech against themselves." 

As of publication, the petition has nearly 10,000 signatures. Once it reaches this number, the petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker, according to Change.org.

On Oct. 25, University leaders denounced Yiannopoulos' visit, calling his comments "offensive" and "hurtful," but said that they will not cancel the event, and that they do not have the authority to do so. 

"Despite our own abhorrence for such statements and the promotional tactics used, Uncensored America has the undeniable Constitutional right to sponsor this presentation on our campus," the statement reads. "The University lacks the right to do anything to stop it."

The statement suggests that instead of "being baited into reacting," University leaders hope that students ignore the event. 

"Commit yourself instead to expressing care and support for those who are the object of his hate," the statement said. 

The statement was signed by Steve Dunham, vice president and general counsel, Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, and Marcus Whitehurst, vice provost for Educational Equity.

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