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Gonzaga University says Ben Shapiro can’t speak at the school. Ben Shapiro has the best response.
Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon

Gonzaga University says Ben Shapiro can’t speak at the school. Ben Shapiro has the best response.

Going to give the speech anyway

Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, has denied an opportunity for conservative speaker Ben Shapiro to speak at the school, but Shapiro has a plan: he's reportedly going to deliver his speech anyway, according to Campus Reform.

What are the details?

According to Gonzaga University Vice President of Student Development Judi Biggs Garbuio, the school does not want Shapiro to attend a planned 2019 appearance because of the discourse his speeches allegedly cause on campus.

"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," she explained.

Gonzaga College Republicans President Olivia Johnston — who reportedly filed the request for Shapiro to deliver a speech at the university — told the outlet that she thinks it's "beyond exciting" that Shapiro wants to visit the campus.

"He will bring an intellectual take on conservatism that is normally so absent at Gonzaga," she said. "He is coming, now it's a matter if the school wants to be the reason they aren't abiding by the promises of our Jesuit education. All the details come after the approval."

Has Shapiro responded?

In a recent interview with Seattle-based conservative radio host Jason Rantz at KTTH-FM, Shapiro responded to Biggs Garbuio's remarks about his presence on campus.

"[W]e can't have me [at the schoo] because we don't want the people who are yelling at me, which is a basic violation of First Amendment principles," Shapiro mused.

"Gonzaga is a private school obviously, so that changes the math a little — they can do what they want," he offered. "But by the same token, if you are worried about your student body being exposed to interesting ideas because people are going to protest, all this does is create an incentive for people to protest and make trouble."

"That works both ways," Shapiro noted. "If the new rule is that they will bar anyone from coming to campus who draws protests, why wouldn't right wingers go out and protest Angela Davis, who spoke there within the last five years — who was an honest-to-God former terrorist who was on the FBI's most wanted list?"

"The fact that they openly say this is even more amazing," he concluded.

Rantz told Campus Reform that he's thrilled about Shapiro's upcoming visit to Gonzaga.

"I love the fact that Ben is coming to Gonzaga," Rantz said. "We cannot allow hypersensitive progressive students to weaponize the heckler's veto. Don't like his content? Skip the speech. Or better yet: learn to accept that people have different opinions than you and take the time to understand what they think and why."

Anything else?

KTTH reported Gonzaga University's full statement explaining its take on the matter.

Gonzaga University declined the College Republicans' request to make a proposal to bring Ben Shapiro to campus due to two factors: (a) concerns relating to the safety and security of providing the same, and (b) concerns regarding the potential for inappropriate behavior surrounding the event that might violate our institution's standards for conduct.

We are committed to the safety and security of our campus community, including visitors. Given Mr. Shapiro's popularity, in evaluating what has occurred on other campuses, the University felt it would not be able to provide a suitable venue, as well as the concomitant level of security, necessary to appropriately host him. The students who made the request were encouraged to find a local venue that was better equipped to manage the event, and to ensure the safety and security of the guests.

Mr. Shapiro's appearances have drawn protests that include inappropriate behavior, as well as divisive and hateful speech, which is offensive to many people regardless of their age, politics or beliefs. As a private, faith-based, mission-driven institution committed to the human dignity of every individual, we stand in solidarity with vulnerable members of our community who may be targeted for discrimination, ridicule, or harassment by others.

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