Scheduled lecture by conservative author Ben Shaprio triggers sit-in at UofU

On Sept. 27, on the University of Utah campus, ultra-conservative editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro, will address students at ‘Trigger Warning,’ a lecture presented by the Young Americans for Freedom at University of Utah. Shapiro’s platform of late is what he calls “the left’s victim complex and liberal hostility to conservative ideas on college campuses.”

Earlier this month he spoke at Berkeley, amid protesters and full-armored police presence. A portion of his speech he said, “The more victimized you are, the more legitimate your views are. So, the hierarchy goes something like this – the people whose views are most valuable and have been the most victimized. At the very top are LGBT, and then you get black people, and then you get women, and then you get Hispanic people ….”

Shapiro’s visit to the UofU is a concern to both students and school administrators. Students held a sit-in outside UofU President David Pershing’s office this month in an effort to have the speech canceled. However, in an open letter to campus, Pershing said the U, as a public university, had an obligation to permit free expression.

Chris Nelson, UofU’s director of communications told KUER, “I think many on campus find Mr. Shapiro’s views distasteful, they disagree with it, but I think … the best way to combat speech you disagree with is more speech.” Having attended Shapiro’s speech at Berkeley, Nelson added, “I think what we don’t want to be is under-prepared, and we also don’t want to look like a police state. That’s what Berkeley felt like, to be honest with you, to see that many police officers in full riot gear. I don’t think this campus is ready for that; I don’t think it’s needed.”

Dillon Clark, a junior political science major and chair of the YAF chapter on the UofU campus, is bringing Shapiro to his classmates in hope the lecture presents an opportunity not just to raise YAF’s profile but also to generate real discussion around the conservative agenda.

Clark also says his generation is “coddled.”

The lecture will be held Sept. 27, 7-8:30 p.m., Social Behavioral Science Auditorium, 392 S. 1530 East. Admission is free, but seats are limited. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available in the West Ballroom of the UofU student union.

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