In yet another example of left-wing efforts to curb conservative speech on a college campus, student activists at Boston University have launched a petition to ban Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro from speaking at an upcoming student organization-sponsored event. The petition, which smears the mainstream conservative political commentator and bestselling author as a “racist hatemonger,” follows the university’s attempts to downsize the event by half and force the event’s host, the Young America’s Foundation, to pay exorbitant security fees to protect against potential leftist violence.
As Young America’s Foundation’s Kara Zupkus reports, the petition labels Shapiro a “notorious racist and misogynist” and condemns the university for allowing the mainstream conservative to voice his opinions on its campus. The petition paints the university’s free speech-suppressing move to dramatically reduce the audience size of the event and burden YAF with unreasonable security fees as simply a self-serving effort to protect the university’s “image” in light of progressive outrage over allowing conservatives to speak on campus.
“Recently, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), a conservative political group, announced that it has plans to host the notorious racist and misogynist Ben Shapiro, at Boston University,” the petition reads. “The announcement came as the group was told to cut its audience size and pay for security costs. These measures by the University were supposedly put in place for ‘security reasons.’ However, the University is still open to giving Ben Shapiro a platform, they are simply concerned about their image. The cuts to audience size and security fees are token measure, an attempt to appease students while still allowing Shapiro to come and speak. As students and community members of BU, we stand opposed to the proliferation of hate-speech and we are opposed to the University granting a platform to the disgusting and backwards ideology promoted by Shapiro and his ilk. This is not simply ‘Shapiro exercising a right to free speech’, but constitute discriminatory hate-speech against whole sections of the population.”
As YAF points out, among the comments from those who have signed the petition are students citing their need to “feel safe on my own campus” and declaring their belief that “hate speech should not be free speech.”
As The Daily Wire reported, Boston University has cut by half the potential audience for the upcoming YAF-hosted Shapiro event and initially demanded an exorbitant security fee from the conservative student group. Boston University Young Americans for Freedom (BU YAF) told The Daily Wire two weeks ago that Boston University’s Assistant Dean of Students, John Battaglino, informed them that they must move the scheduled event to a location that can accommodate only about half the audience allowed by the preferred location. The university also initially asked the student organization to pay over $12,000 in security fees.
In a report on the university’s actions, YAF spokesman Spencer Brown provided some key takeaways from a 30-point list of “considerations, costs, and conditions” Battaglino sent to BU-YAF concerning the Shapiro event. “Among the stipulations presented in the list is the requirement that the event be relocated from a 1,500-person venue to one that only seats 700, the limitation of potential participants to members of the BU community who reserve tickets — rather than the event being free and open to the public, as originally proposed — and security fees totaling $12,720 the university expects YAF to cover,” The Daily Wire reported. “The conservative student organization notes that in the university’s explanation for the exorbitant security charges, administrators cite the need to ‘provide security for protestors,’ but notably do not cite the need to protect YAF or Shapiro.”
The letter from Brown included specifics about the massive security fee for the event, including paying 40 university police officers, 4 officers to direct traffic, 16 contracted security officers, and 2 explosive ordinance disposal K9 units.
After YAF and The Daily Wire reported on the letter from Battaglino, the university informed YAF that it would waive the security fee.
In response to Boston University’s suspect treatment of the conservative event, Shapiro told The Daily Wire that this is another example of campus administrators caving to Antifa’s “heckler’s veto.”
“As per the usual arrangement, it appears that conservatives are to be penalized for the not-even-yet-threatened misbehavior of intolerant Leftists,” Shapiro said. “The heckler’s veto is alive and well.”