With the uproar raised by campus leftists at the University of Connecticut over the invitation College Republicans extended to Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro to speak on campus, an email was sent by the university’s associate vice president and chief diversity officer suggesting that students whose feelings were threatened should consult her office, the Cultural Centers, the Dean of Students Office, or the university’s office of Counselng & Mental Health Services (CMHS).
The email stated: “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.”
The full text is below:
Happy New Year and Welcome Back for the Spring Semester!
I hope you all had an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends during the break and you are ready to hit the ground running to make the spring semester your best yet!
I wanted to make you aware of a situation we have recently learned about. There has been a request received for Ben Shapiro to come to campus as the guest of the College Republicans. Ben Shapiro is an American conservative political commentator, columnist, author, radio talk show host, and lawyer. There has been no confirmed date, location or time at this point and the University will be following the new event procedures as outlined in early December, which includes holding an event review which a member of the ODI team will be a part of. 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.
In the meantime, please utilize the many campus resources available to you should you want to talk through your feelings about this issue, including my office, the Cultural Centers, the Dean of Students Office, and CMHS, if necessary.
While the event is not finalized (some external reports have indicated Jan 24 in Laurel Hall though that is not confirmed), we will be sure to keep you up to date as we learn additional information, particularly after the event review is held.
Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected] or 8604862422.
Wishing you a productive semester,
Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
This would not be the first time a university offered its leftist students mental health counseling for a prospective speech from Shapiro; last September the University of California, Berkeley famously offered mental health services to students threatened by Shapiro’s speech to follow the next week.
The Daily Wire contacted UConn's Chief Diversity Officer and was directed to university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz, who stated:
UConn recently updated its event planning review procedures to better ensure that the First Amendment rights of all invited speakers, audience members at their events, and others are respected and protected.We don’t regulate based on content; the procedures are purely administrative to determine logistics such as room size, security needs, media relations and other planning. The procedures are meant to be an objective planning tool to help ensure that events can take place without interruptions or safety issues, and aren’t based on a speaker’s political ideology.
We used a similar review process a few years ago in determining that a request to host Bernie Sanders on campus wasn’t feasible, given the timing and concerns about crowd size on a busy weekday on campus. One issue that’s considered in the course of the pre-event reviews is whether there might be protesters on site, or whether students who disagree with a speaker are aware of ways to express themselves peacefully. In this case, we sent an informational email to a small portion of the student body; it’s not a “warning,” as it’s been described. It’s simply a way to make sure that UConn students know of on-campus programs or services if they want to talk with others about their views.
We’re working closely with the College Republicans to ensure a safe event with robust and respectful conversation.