The University of Minnesota has decided to take the pusillanimous route, attempting to force the upcoming lecture from Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro away from venues on the main campus in order to avoid demonstrations with leftists that might erupt. Venues that were rejected for Shapiro’s February 26 lecture, part of the David and Marlyce Logan Advancing Freedom Lecture Series for Young America’s Foundation(YAF), include Ted Mann Concert Hall, (capacity 1500), Willey Hall (capacity 800), and Mayo Memorial Auditorium (capacity 450), all located on the main Minneapolis campus.
YAF spokesman Spencer Brown notes the Ted Mann venue was rejected because of an ostensible schedule conflict, despite the fact that there were no conflicting events that were known at the time the request was made; Willey Hall was rejected because it is close to a light-rail line and accessible to other buildings by tunnels, thus allowing easier access for demonstrators.
Brown points out, “Instead of enforcing the law and holding anyone who attempts to disrupt the event or destroy property accountable, the U of M is punishing conservatives with stringent regulations that didn’t apply to speaking events by now-disgraced Senator Al Franken or an appearance by Senator Elizabeth Warren. The plan to effectively quarantine conservatives on a satellite campus shows the University of Minnesota’s disregard for the free exchange of ideas and double standard when it comes to working with conservative students who wish to advance their ideas on campus.”
It is worth noting that Franken spoke in the Ted Mann Concert Hall last June; Warren spoke in the same venue last October.
So what did the university offer? A room in the St. Paul Student Center, several miles away from the main campus. Brown adds that administrators also attempted to postpone the date of the lecture but conservative students forced the administrators to back down.
Brown concludes, “The University of Minnesota must protect all students’ First Amendment expression, especially that deemed unpopular by the liberal elite who dominate the U of M.