Colleges have not been recently known for their willingness to allow discussion of, or events concerning, politics that aren’t to the left of Hillary Clinton. It seems that public colleges, funded with taxpayer money, are more than happy to allow events with speakers who are far-left figures preaching identity politics, but the likes of such right-wing luminaries as Ben Shapiro are a bridge too far.
Ben Shapiro is the latest victim of the left-leaning bias of academia and its desire to ensure that his message is heard by as few people as possible. In service to this goal, the University of Connecticut (UConn) decided that Ben Shapiro’s speech, scheduled for tomorrow, will now be open only to members of the public on a pre-approved list.
The University of Connecticut made this decision after a ‘review’ of the speech and the content it is likely to contain, deciding that anyone who might want to see the event at the taxpayer-funded university who doesn’t currently attend the school as a student or work there must be pre-registered or they will not be allowed in to the event.
This is an interesting departure from the way that the University of Connecticut has run previous speeches by individuals on topics that may be ‘politically sensitive.’ Spencer Brown of Young America’s Foundation pointed out as much, suggesting that the treatment that Ben Shapiro has received concerning his speech is very different than the treatment Anita Hill received for her speech just last week.
Anita Hill is a Democrat attorney who now works in academia. However, she is best known for her attempt to derail the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with claims of sexual harassment. Since her accusations fell flat, Hill has spent most of her time working as a ‘professor’ in various fields, mostly related to social justice.
For such a politically polarizing figure as Anita Hill has been since 1991, the University of Connecticut’s opened their doors, and allowed anyone at all to attend her event with “no tickets required for entry,” even going so far as to advertise the event as “free and open to the public.”
A University of Connecticut professor, Jay Bergman, noted the disparity in treatment. Jay Bergman, a professor of history, sent an email to University of Connecticut employees, condemning the move and pointing out the obvious bias in the treatment of the two speakers.
In his email, he asked of the faculty “can you explain the difference in the university’s treatment of the two speeches … which seems to penalize Mr. Shapiro and the College Republicans for their political opinions?” Sadly, answers were not forthcoming, and it seems that the University of Connecticut and most of its professors are not interested in considering why the difference in treatment between the politically divisive (and likely dishonest) Anita Hill and Ben Shapiro is necessary or desirable.
However, perhaps UConn’s Chief Diversity Officer’s email can provide some clue. Joelle Murchison sent out an email to students concerning the upcoming Ben Shapiro event, which stated that “we understand that even the thought of an individual coming to campus with the views that Mr. Shapiro expresses can be concerning and even hurtful and that’s why we wanted to make you aware as soon as we were informed.”
Perhaps the University of Connecticut decided that because Ben Shapiro’s speech and his views are likely to be ‘hurtful,’ they should keep locals away. But that doesn’t make any sense, as students will be able to attend without having to worry about being pre-approved, ‘exposing’ them to the ‘hurtful’ rhetoric Ben Shapiro allegedly espouses.
Perhaps the reality is that the University of Connecticut is interested in ensuring that as few people as possible get to see Ben Shapiro’s speech. After all, if the event now requires that people outside of the University must pre-register for attendance, then leftists on (and off) campus can easily game the system. They can simply flood the University of Connecticut with requests for seats and not show up, taking up seats that could have been filled with people interested in hearing what Mr. Shapiro had to say and ensuring that no one else could occupy them once the list was filled. When the event occurs, it will be too late to get approval, so members of the public will be forced to miss out.
Ben Shapiro has often received disparate treatment when trying to speak at public colleges. His speeches have been attacked while local police have been told to stand down, he’s been barred from speaking at events without reason, and he’s been derided as a ‘Nazi’, ‘fascist,’ and various other terms leftists commonly use to undermine the credibility of people with whom they disagree.
For all that, Ben Shapiro remains a well-spoken Conservative figure, and one of the more intelligent legal minds in politics. Anyone who is able to get into this event is likely to hear a well-thought-out argument, and a well-researched viewpoint, whether they agree with it or not.