On Thursday night, Concordia’s Student Government Association reversed their November 30 decision to fund an appearance by Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, voting to rescind their financial support.
The Concordia’s Student Government Association voted in a near-unanimous decision, 28-2, against funding Shapiro’s visit. Preceding the vote, a discussion lasting roughly one hour was held as over 150 students and faculty filled Barry Auditorium.
In the November 30 decision, the association voted 13-10 to allocate $7,080 to the Young Americans for Freedom group on campus to fund an appearance by Shapiro.
But the objectors to Shapiro’s appearance, in their motion to rescind funding, asserted, “Shapiro’s harmful messages targeting LGBTQ+ communities and other marginalized identities is in direct opposition to the dedication of Concordia and Student Government Association to support diversity, equity, and inclusion of all persons from all backgrounds and identities.”
YAF had responded:
All the YAF chapter at Concordia wants is for SGA to help offset the cost of bringing a conservative speaker to campus. Instead they compromise their integrity and call for a rescinding of the vote due to vocal opposition from students on campus not one week after we received partial funding. Bringing Ben Shapiro to campus would be a sign from Concordia College that they value intellectual and political diversity and that they care about the marginalized and underrepresented conservative voices on campus.
Collin Howard, a freshman and a member of the college’s Young Americans for Freedom, commented before the vote, “It’s a matter of free speech to let Shapiro come. Concordia is all about diversity. If Shapiro isn’t allowed to come, then they aren’t holding true to their statement of diversity. To have complete diversity, you need to have political diversity.” He pointed out that Concordia invited Black Lives Matter activist and writer Shaun King to speak in January and King “is as far left as Shapiro is right.”
SGA vice president Will Kuball claimed the association is working with Young Americans for Freedom to find a speaker amenable to the SGA, adding that “free speech doesn’t mean hate speech.”