Ben Shapiro, a popular conservative commentator, is scheduled to speak at the University of Minnesota (UMn) on February 26, 2018. Considering that Shapiro is incredibly popular with the conservative youth, there is massive demand for Shapiro’s speech at UMn. In response to the demand, YAF asked for a venue that seats between 800-1,500 people to accommodate as many students and members of the public as possible.
However, the University of Minnesota’s administration is trying to ensure as few people as possible can go to the speech. The Minnesota administration relegated Shapiro’s speech to a desolate venue with a capacity of only 400 people.The venue is miles from the main campus and without any significant transportation routes nearby.
The goal of the administration is obvious. UMn’s administration is clearly trying to silence a narrative they find undesirable by restricting attendance and by making it far more difficult to attend than necessary.
The administration released the following statement yesterday:
The administration is using the vastly overused and inflated “security” and “safety” of the students excuse to justify their actions of subverting YAF’s free speech. UMn is buckling under pressure of extreme leftists and this gives them a “heckler’s veto” that actually has quite a bit of reinforced power. Universities are sending the message that violent protests against conservative speakers are viable options for strong arming an already unreceptive administration into cancelling or severely limiting conservative viewpoints being presented on college campuses.
The University of Minnesota administration must move the speech to a bigger, more accessible venue, not simply because they are publicly funded university and have the responsibility of actively encouraging free speech, but also because the UMn needs to show extremists on either side that speech will not be silenced simply because it is unpopular. Students come to college to be informed and be a productive member of society; the UMn should not fail their students in this way.
If you are displeased with the actions of the administration, the links to the University of Minnesota administration’s contact info is here. Make your voice heard and don’t let leftist administrations decide who gets free-speech on publicly funded campuses.