Young America’s Foundation discovered Facebook posts revealing one member of Marquette University’s staff attempted to sabotage an upcoming Ben Shapiro lecture by getting people hostile to Shapiro to reserve seats posing as students.

A comment on a Facebook thread from Chrissy Nelson, listed online as a program assistant for Marquette’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies, states that a director of diversity on campus suggested to her that people should reserve seats to the lecture through Eventbrite posing as students in order “to take a seat away from someone who would actually go.” Nelson responded she would be “promoting” the suggestion.

Later, Nelson commented that she “will encourage students to protest” Shapiro’s lecture the day after the event. 

Nelson also alleged that Marquette “allowed” Shapiro’s lecture only “because of the backlash DePaul University had with not allowing it,” referring to DePaul’s decision to bar its YAF chapter from hosting Shapiro’s lecture, which was condemned across the board, including by the Chicago Tribune. Shapiro was threatened with arrest if he set foot on the campus at DePaul.

Nelson instructed former Marquette professor Susannah Bartlow, who was fired in 2015 for allowing the mural of a convicted cop killer to be painted in the resource center, to register for the lecture as a student to “take away a seat from a student that would be interested in going.” 

In yet another comment, Nelson, identifying herself as “staff at Marquette,” wrote, “what has been directed to students is not to protest because the speaker has told Marquette he hopes students do protest to make an example of the protestors.” 

Young America’s Foundation, the sole sponsor and organizer of Marquette YAF’s lecture, called on the university to investigate Nelson’s allegations immediately.

H/T Emily Jashinsky of YAF