Gonzaga University, a private Catholic college, rejected a proposal to bring conservative commentator Ben Shapiro to its Washington state campus, citing the school's Christian "mission" as part of the reason for its decision, Campus Reform reported.
Judi Biggs Garbuio, the school's vice president of student development, noted the latter reason and other factors in a response to an event request from Gonzaga College Republicans President Olivia Johnston, which the outlet said it obtained.
What else was said in the response?
“Mr. Shapiro’s appearances routinely draw protests that include extremely divisive and hateful speech and behavior, which is offensive to many people regardless of their age, politics, or beliefs,” Biggs Garbuio said in the response, Campus Reform noted.
She added that Gonzaga "is committed to the human dignity of every individual. This is the core of our mission based on the teachings of Christ Jesus and the foundations of the Society of Jesus. We stand in solidarity with vulnerable members of our community who may be targeted for discrimination, ridicule, or harassment by others,” the outlet said.
Biggs Garbuio also cited safety concerns surrounding a Shapiro appearance.
“Gonzaga’s events policy requires us consider whether an event would pose substantial risk to the safety occurred to any member of our campus community,” she added, according to Campus Reform. “In light of what has occurred on other campuses, our security team has raised questions about whether we can adequately secure a campus venue.”
What did the College Republicans leaders have to say?
“They want Gonzaga to be a left-of-center university, and they have made it clear diversity of thought [is] not welcome,” Johnston told the outlet. “My mission as president is to ensure free speech on campus, as college is a place to expand your thinking and not be indoctrinated in the classroom.”
Johnston added to Campus Reform: “I refuse to accept a university that only supports strictly liberal thinking. The hypocrisy must end.”
Cody Meyer, the College Republicans' vice president, agreed.
“When an idea or figure arises who does not support the politically biased narrative Gonzaga clings to, our university can dismiss it as hate and intolerance,” he added to the outlet. “I urge Gonzaga to reconsider this decision and support the fundamentals of the Jesuit university to which I belong.”
Biggs Garbuio didn't respond to a request for comment in time for publication, Campus Reform said.
Shapiro also didn't immediately respond on Thursday to TheBlaze's request for comment.
This writer's perspective
The optics are decidedly awkward here, given Gonzaga reportedly cited its mission based on Christ's teachings as one of its reasons to reject Shapiro — who happens to be Jewish.
While the school reportedly connected its religious stance to concerns about those who may be "targeted for discrimination, ridicule, or harassment" in connection to the event, it still doesn't necessarily look good when the result is nixing a Jewish speaker.
One can look at it this way: If Liberty University rejected an event featuring a Muslim speaker who routinely drew protests and safety issues, and Liberty cited its Christian mission as wanting to protect those who may be targets for harassment due to the event, what do you think observers would say?
Answer: The media and the left would scream hatred and discrimination.
But since Shapiro is a conservative, that trumps the fact that he's Jewish — and likely, it's "no harm, no foul" in the minds of social justice warriors everywhere.