DePaul Bans Ben Shapiro From Speaking on Campus
By John K. Wilson
DePaul University has banned conservative pundit Ben Shapiro from speaking on campus to the Young Americans for Freedom student group.
On November 15, when Shapiro attempted to speak at DePaul, he reported, “When I showed up, I was confronted by 30 security guards from the university. There were also five or six local cops present, as well as a sheriff from Cook County to facilitate an arrest if security decided to move on me.” There were no protesters at the event.
During the summer, Bob Janis, Vice President of Facilities Operations at DePaul, sent an email to the campus YAF chapter declaring, “Given the experiences and security concerns that some other schools have had with Ben Shapiro speaking on their campuses, DePaul cannot agree to allow him to speak on our campus at this time.”
This is a classic example of the heckler’s veto, and it must be rejected by everyone. No college campus should ever ban a speaker. Period. No exceptions. If there are security concerns, then you provide the security needed to protect free speech.
In May, leftist protesters disrupted and ended a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos at DePaul (the College Republicans were forced to pay $1000 for campus security, who then did nothing to stop the disruption).
President Dennis Holtschneider apologized to the College Republicans: “They deserved to hear their speaker uninterrupted, and were denied that.” In response, the DePaul University Black Leadership Coalition held a sit-in, leading Holtschneider to apologize to them on June 2, “I am deeply sorry for the harm that was unleashed by a speaker whose intent was to ignite racial tension and demean those most marginalized, both in our society and at DePaul.” Holtschneider then announced his resignation in mid-June, effective at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.
I am no fan of Ben Shapiro, since I critiqued his first book in 2005 and criticized his homophobic views in 2013. But I absolutely defend his right to express his dumb ideas, and the right of student groups to invite him and hear what he has to say.
But I have some unsolicited advice for what DePaul University should do: