On Friday, Young Americans For Freedom reported that administrators at Grand Canyon University, which has been referred to as the largest Christian university in the United States, are blocking Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro from speaking on their campus.
YAF stated that the administrators said the university, which is located in Phoenix, Arizona, would not “provide a venue” for Shapiro, whose speech is part of YAF’s Fred Allen Lecture Series.
As Spencer Brown, spokesman for YAF, noted, “If this pathetic response sounds familiar, it should—that’s exactly what UC Berkeley administrators initially told students when Cal administrators tried to prevent Shapiro from speaking.”
As The Daily Wire reported in July 2017, one month before Shapiro’s scheduled speech at UC Berkeley:
On Wednesday, Young America’s Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans were told by the University of California, Berkeley administration that Berkeley would not facilitate an event by Daily Wire Editor-In-Chief Ben Shapiro on September 14 on campus. Instead, administrators have informed YAF and BCR that they are “unable to identify an available campus venue.” They have not provided a list of other events taking place on campus on that time and date that would prevent Shapiro from speaking.
Brown wrote that the university administrators met with students on Thursday and listed three reasons for denying Shapiro access: permitting Shapiro on GCU’s campus would not be good for the school long-term; Shapiro’s approach triggers a divisive atmosphere; and GCU wants to maintain its culture of unity, love, respect and having all student voices on campus heard.
Brown said that at that meeting, administrators termed Shapiro’s style too “cutthroat” and that merely by him being present at the university, divisiveness would be precipitated. The GCU YAF chapter said administrators specifically cited DACA students and what possible remarks Shapiro might make about immigration. They also said that GCU’s president Brian Mueller agreed with the decision to deny Shapiro a venue. Mueller has stated that GCU has a “significant number” of undocumented students who benefit from DACA, and that the university is “about immigration reform.” He also said, “We really believe that we’re so divided as a country right now, extreme positions on the left and extreme positions on the right aren’t helping.”
Brown continued, “Seemingly unaware of the reaction to schools that block Ben Shapiro, administrators reasoned that in refusing to give Shapiro a venue, GCU would avoid negative media attention. They fear, according to the students in the meeting, that the outside world is watching GCU and waiting to jump on the school for making a mistake.”
Brown notes that Grand Canyon University’s mission statement states that the university offers “opportunities in which the public can engage in events that involve critical thinking around the community and academic discourse” including “lecture series, competitions, and town halls” to encourage “asking questions and pursuing knowledge to avoid delusion and blind acceptance of ideas.”
Brown commented, “By caving to an unseen mob and ignoring the popularity of Shapiro among its student body, Grand Canyon University just played itself and deserves whatever negative response this brings. GCU has abandoned the sentiment of its own proclaimed values, deluded itself into acting like the liberal campuses it claims to differ from, and blindly accepted the Left’s ludicrous argument that Shapiro’s presence somehow damages students, campuses, or debate.”
GCU YAF echoed, “It is deeply disappointing that Grand Canyon University has disallowed Ben Shapiro from appearing on our campus—We cannot understand why our school would refuse to host someone who is a tireless advocate for traditional Judeo-Christian values.”