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LIVE UPDATES: Students Protest Ben Shapiro At Florida State University
PASADENA, CA - JULY 30: Ben Shapiro at the 'Cenk Uygur vs. Ben Shapiro' panel during Politicon at Pasadena Convention Center on July 30, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Politicon)
Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Politicon

Opponents of Ben Shapiro are apparently defacing property ahead of his speech at Florida State University on Monday evening.

At least two progressive campus groups have planned protests over the speech, and one of them, FSU’s branch of the socialist Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), is actively pushing the university to ban Shapiro from campus. Shapiro is scheduled to speak at FSU’s Tucker Civic Center’s Exhibition Hall at 7 p.m. in front of a capacity 1,500-person audience.

At least one of the posters advertising the event has been defaced with Shapiro’s likeness graffitied into the form of a devil with horns and black eyes. The vandal also wrote on the margins of the poster accusing Shapiro of being a “racist” and “misogynist” who is “unable to make decent arguments.”

“Why can’t I be racist in public?” a caption says.

“Free speech = N-word,” another states.

SDS and another progressive campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are planning a protest over Shapiro’s speech. A poster circulating on social media blares,” We don’t tolerate fascists.”

Last week, SDS released a statement labeling Shapiro “far-right” despite the conservative commentator being the top target of antisemitism on Twitter among journalists in 2016, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The campus group also pressured university President Richard McCullough to ban Shapiro, a demand the school has rejected. FSU’s statement said:

On November 15, Florida State University, FSUGOP, and YAF will host far-right media figure Ben Shapiro at the Tucker Civic Center. This is extremely concerning, as Shapiro has a long history of being violently racist, homophobic, transphobic, and xenophobic. From arguing that homosexuality should remain in the DSM as a mental illness to staunchly reinforcing strict gender binaries on all aspects of society, Shapiro has shown that he stands against true freedom of expression and that his presence is antagonistic to the LGBTQ+ community, both on and off-campus. As a contributor and editor of far-right publications like Breitbart and Daily Wire, Shapiro has affirmed white supremacy by pushing back against “Critical Race Theory” (in other words, a correct telling of US History) and decrying systemic racism as a baseless belief. Shapiro is also a steadfast defender of the settler-colonial Israeli apartheid state, which has been engaged in the displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians for decades.

In light of recent acts of racism and hate speech on FSU’s campus, the presence of Ben Shapiro should absolutely not be tolerated by students, faculty, and administration.

SDS condemns the university’s decision to allow Ben Shapiro to spread reactionary propaganda on campus. Additionally, we call on all progressive student organizations to stand in opposition to the platforming of this racist commentator. For too long FSU’s administration has encouraged racism, discrimination, and hate in the FSU community; this must end now! President McCullough claims to care about equity, diversity, and inclusion. If this is true, he should have no problem fulfilling the demands of Students for a Democratic Society: do not allow Ben Shapiro to appear on FSU’s campus on November 15 or any other day. No Fascists on our campus!

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