UPDATE, Feb. 7, 2019: A Twitter account that appears to be associated with Young America’s Foundation spokesman Spencer Brown tweeted Thursday afternoon that YAF and Grand Canyon University had arrived at a deal that would bring Ben Shapiro to campus.
BREAKING: @GCU signed @YAF’s contract and we’re moving forward to bring @benshapiro to campus with @GCUYAF1776 through our exclusive Fred Allen Lecture Series. Ticketing and other details to follow. pic.twitter.com/b42teF2FPY
— Spencer Brown (@itsSpencerBrown) February 7, 2019
Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, says it will not provide a venue for conservative pundit and Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro to speak on campus, The Daily Wire reported Friday, citing Young America’s Foundation.
GCU is the largest Christian university in the country, recently surpassing Virginia’s Liberty University.
Shapiro was invited to the university by the school’s Young America Foundation chapter, but the invitation was reportedly withdrawn by the university.
According to YAF, school administrators gave three reasons for banning Shapiro from speaking on campus.
“Allowing Shapiro on GCU’s campus would not be good for the school long-term,” the administration said, according to YAF.
Second, “Shapiro’s approach instigates a divisive atmosphere.”
Finally, the administrators claimed the decision was made because “GCU wants to maintain its culture of unity, love, respect and having all student voices on campus heard.”
GCU’s YAF chapter said administrators were specifically concerned that Shapiro’s speeches could be an issue for their DACA students.
According to The Daily Wire, GCU President Brian Mueller said in 2018 that the university has a “significant number” of undocumented students and that the school is “about immigration reform.”
“We really believe that we’re so divided as a country right now, extreme positions on the left and extreme positions on the right aren’t helping,” Mueller said then.
YAF denounced the decision.
“By caving to an unseen mob and ignoring the popularity of Shapiro among its student body, Grand Canyon University just played itself and deserves whatever negative response this brings,” Young America’s Foundation Spokesman Spencer Brown said.
“GCU has abandoned the sentiment of its own proclaimed values, deluded itself into acting like the liberal campuses it claims to differ from, and blindly accepted the Left’s ludicrous argument that Shapiro’s presence somehow damages students, campuses, or debate.”
— GCUYAF (@gcuyaf1776) February 1, 2019
GCU YAF expressed its disappointment and confusion: “It is deeply disappointing that Grand Canyon University has disallowed Ben Shapiro from appearing on our campus — We cannot understand why our school would refuse to host someone who is a tireless advocate for traditional Judeo-Christian values.”
GCU has also received a significant number of negative responses on its Facebook page.
“My 16 year old was considering attending here. Not anymore. Let Shapiro speak,” one commenter wrote.
“Incredibly disappointed in GCU, will no longer recommend this school to friends and family,” wrote another.
“You call yourself a Christian university but deny Ben Shapiro, a proven defender of traditional Judeo-Christian values a platform to exercise his 1st amendment right,” wrote another disappointed commenter.
Shapiro himself noted the invitation withdraw on Twitter.
Another day, another university ban https://t.co/b9Z2Atmdi3
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 1, 2019
“Another day, another university ban,” he tweeted.
Shapiro has been banned from campuses in the past, including California State University at Los Angeles, DePaul University and Gonzaga University.
The Western Journal reached out to Grand Canyon University’s Director of Public Relations for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
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