The University of Glasgow is facing calls to disqualify former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos from an election for one of its most senior posts after he was nominated by students.
Yiannopoulos, who resigned as a senior editor from Breitbart last month over comments in which he appeared to condone paedophilia, is one of 12 candidates up for the role of rector, which is currently held by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Students in Glasgow elect a rector every three years to represent them on the university court, the institution's governing body. Previous rectors include Charles Kennedy MP, actor Ross Kemp, and former prime minister Stanley Baldwin.
The University of Glasgow announced Yiannopoulos's nomination in a tweet on Friday evening alongside the other 11 candidates. Candidates require the support of 10 students to get on the ballot paper.
Within hours of the announcement, nearly 2,000 people signed a petition calling on the university to remove Yiannopoulos from the list, as well as Canadian professor Jordan Peterson, who has been accused of transphobia.
"The transphobic, misogynistic, violent ideologies perpetrated by these candidates not only put vulnerable students at the University at risk of harm, but are in direct violation of the University's equality and diversity policy," reads the petition.
"Their inclusion as candidates is utterly inappropriate at best and potentially dangerous at worst. We therefore demand that the senate revoke both Peterson's and Yiannopoulos's candidacies to ensure the safety and well-being of the University's students."
A member of the Scottish parliament for the SNP, Gillian Martin, called Yiannopoulos a "cretin" and cursed the students who nominated him.
Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, also nominated for rector, told BuzzFeed News he didn't think Yiannopoulos should be disqualified, but said his nomination was "demeaning" to the university.
"I don't think it's a question of disqualified, as students have the freedom to nominate who they want," said Anwar. "However, as an alumni and nominee, it's demeaning of a university that prides itself on diversity and inclusiveness to have the darling of the far right and white supremacists nominated.
"I hope that the students come out in their thousands to send an unconditional message to the likes of Milo that his hatred is not welcome on campus, in Glasgow or Scotland."
The University of Glasgow's feminist society announced it will boycott the election as long as Yiannopoulos remains on the ballot paper.
In a Facebook post, the society said: "Do not vote whilst bigoted candidates stand – it is a disgrace to our university. We will not vote until the candidate list is altered. Two of the candidates violate equality and diversity standards."
The university confirmed all candidates on the list have agreed to take part in the election, but refused to comment on the calls for the removal of Yiannopoulos from the ballot paper.
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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