After blowback erupted when they denied the university’s Young America's Foundation chapter the opportunity to invite Daily Wire Editor-In-Chief Ben Shapiro to speak on their campus, Grand Canyon University, the nation’s largest Christian university, met with YAF spokesman Spencer Brown and members of GCU YAF on Monday and seemingly reversed themselves, agreeing to issue a joint statement announcing a date for Shapiro’s lecture. The school asked that YAF and GCU issue a joint statement that included language by the GCU YAF chapter reinforcing that they loved their school and that is why they were fighting to have Shapiro on campus.
But after YAF created a draft and submitted the statement for perusal, according to YAF, GCU administrators did not approve YAF’s statement, and instead returned an edited version that created statements from YAF spokesman Spencer Brown that he had not made, and according to Brown, “threw GCU YAF under the bus. “ Brown added, “Despite expressing the fact that the understandable blowback on the school was the worst thing they’d seen happen to GCU, administrators continue to play games and further jeopardize their school’s reputation.”
The draft YAF created read like this:
After the initial decision by GCU to cancel Ben Shapiro’s appearance, we chose not to give up, but instead worked with Young America’s Foundation to boldly insist that Shapiro’s presence on our campus would be a benefit to our peers. On Monday we sat down and talked with President Mueller and other members of GCU’s administration to talk through their concerns and come to an understanding.
“We love Grand Canyon University and the opportunities and education it has provided us, which is why we refused to back down in our work to bring Shapiro to campus,” noted recent GCU graduate and GCU YAF member Breana Marsh.
“GCU’s conservative and Christian values brought me here, so I’m very happy to see GCU working with our YAF chapter to bring Ben Shapiro to share his unapologetic Judeo-Christian values,” remarked GCU YAF Event Director Mike Knipp.
“I’m glad to see Grand Canyon University allow Ben Shapiro on campus. Our chapter looks forward to working with GCU for many more successful events in the future,” said GCU YAF Chairman Connor Brinton.
Details for the event will be announced on YAF.org/events as they’re confirmed, and follow @YAF on Twitter for additional updates.
The GCU revision looked like this; note the alleged statement from Brown:
Representatives of Young America’s Foundation met with Grand Canyon University officials on Monday morning, reaching an understanding that will allow Ben Shapiro to speak on campus.
The meeting provided an opportunity for both YAF and GCU to better understand each other and what each wants to accomplish by having Shapiro on campus. A date has yet to be determined.
“We got a chance to hear more about GCU and the challenges and opportunities it faces in its inner-city community,” said YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown. “While we regret not seeking approval from GCU first before publicly announcing that he would speak on GCU’s campus, we are happy that, in the end, Mr. Shapiro will be allowed to speak on campus.”
GCU was initially unaware that YAF had announced Shapiro would be speaking on campus, and a University committee subsequently recommended that it deny access. University administrators reached out to YAF members over the weekend and met with them on Monday to review that decision.
“We’re thankful we could come to an understanding with the students who want to bring Mr. Shapiro to campus and we look forward to working with them to ensure that it will be a successful event,” said GCU President Brian Mueller.
YAF student members are thankful to President Mueller for hearing their appeal and allowing Shapiro to speak on campus.
“We love Grand Canyon University and the opportunities and education it has provided us, which is why we appealed to President Mueller to make this happen,” said GCU graduate and YAF member Breana Marsh.
“GCU’s conservative Christian values brought me here, so I’m happy to see GCU working with our YAF chapter to bring Ben Shapiro to share his unapologetic Judeo-Christian values,” said GCU YAF Event Director Mike Knipp.
“We have helped bring several conservative speakers to GCU in the past,” said GCU YAF Chairman Connor Brinton, “and I’m glad we have the opportunity to add Ben Shapiro to that list.”
GCU returned their draft revision to YAF for consideration, which occurred at roughly 7 p.m. on Monday as Brown was flying back home from his meeting with them in Phoenix. Just prior to noon on Tuesday, before YAF answered, GCU suddenly broke off the discussion, with their PR Director Bob Romantic emailing Brown, “Spencer: We have not heard back from you but have decided we are moving in a different direction regarding an appearance by Mr. Shapiro. Thank you for your time meeting with us.” Brown replied via email, “This reads as a vague (second) cancellation of Shapiro—can you confirm or clarify?”