SEATTLE — A University of Washington student says she’s being harassed because of her efforts to bring a controversial speaker to campus.
“Universities are supposed to be a place of free discussion and exchange of ideas,” student Jessie Gamble said Friday.
Gamble says that freedom is being stifled through intimidation.
Someone created an anonymous flyer online titled ‘The racist in your class’ naming and showing Gamble, who is the president of the college Republicans. Gamble says she received the flyer in her email Tuesday night.
“I would say it’s definitely harassment and an attempt at defamation of character,” Gamble said.
The biggest concern is what’s on the bottom of the flyer, personal information on how to reach not only Gamble but her father.
“It angered him frustrated him and my mom was scared about it,” Gamble said.
The drama stems from Gamble’s invitation to see conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos speak on campus on Inauguration Day. The editor at Breitbart news is a self-proclaimed online troll.
“We are well aware of that, some people like his controversy. For most of the club we really like his notion on the safe space culture how certain colleges are protecting types of speech from being allowed in colleges,” Gamble said.
Gamble says she disagrees with Milo on almost everything else.
“There has been many opportunities to uninvite Milo and stop the event,” Gamble said.
She understands the controversy but says harassment is not the answer.
Gamble has already raised the $7,000 needed to hold the event and many other students are disappointed.
“I think it will cause a lot of problems rightfully so I just hope it can be done peacefully,” student Claire Mitchell said.
The University of Washington is not sponsoring the speaker’s visit in any way but on Friday a spokesperson for the university said they were dismayed when they learned of the flyer targeting Gamble. They college says they do not tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind.
“I hope they commit to it and not taken as a slap to the wrist because of my political affiliation,” Gamble said.
Gamble is hoping the person who targeted her will be caught and punished by the UW. She has filed a police report with UW Police.
She says she and her father have not received any threatening calls.