GCU on banning Ben Shapiro: “We have obviously disappointed and offended some of you”

Ben Shapiro speaking to Young America’s Foundation member in 2017.

PHOENIX — Ben Shapiro, a 35-year-old author, lawyer and public speaker, was barred from speaking on the campus of a Christian university, after he was invited by a conservative campus group.

Spencer Brown of Young America’s Foundation said in a social media post that the university administrators gave these “feeble” reasons for their “cowardly denial of Shapiro” during a meeting:

Allowing Shapiro on GCU’s campus would not be good for the school long-term.

Shapiro’s approach instigates a divisive atmosphere.

GCU wants to maintain its culture of unity, love, respect and having all student voices on campus heard.

Spencer wrote that administrators whined that Shapiro’s style is too “cut throat” and that his mere presence would be divisive.

Administrators specifically cited the presence of DACA students, those who were brought to the United States illegally but allowed to stay by an executive order of former President Barack Obama. The school leaders said they were concerned about what Shapiro may say about immigration.

The Young America’s Foundation GCU students were also told that the university’s president, Brian Mueller,”signed off on the decision to deny Shapiro a venue.”

The university issued a lengthy statement on its web site, which was not credited to Mueller or any other individual.

It was written from the point-of-view of the university as a whole, without any individual responsibility for the message it conveyed.

“We wanted to take a moment to address Grand Canyon University’s decision to cancel a speaking engagement on campus by Ben Shapiro that had been scheduled by one of our student clubs,” the release said.

“We believe in many of the things that Ben Shapiro speaks about and stands for, including his support for ideals that grow out of traditional Judeo-Christian values and his belief in a free market economy. Our decision to cancel Shapiro’s speaking engagement is not a reflection of his ideologies or the values he represents, but rather a desire to focus on opportunities that bring people together.”

The statement then digresses into a lengthy term paper on the university’s history, its ethical positions statement, commitment to inspiration of the Scripture, etc., etc., etc.

It goes on to articulate its “financial model,” and the number of students it has attracted to its campus and its online school.

“This financial model, which makes Christian education affordable to all socio-economic classes resulted in a very diverse student body on our campus,” the release reads. “That has resulted in a very diverse student body on the campus : 28% Hispanic, 7% African-American, 47% people of color – that represent all socio-economic sectors of America.”

Of course, Ben Shapiro is a Jewish man who does not fit into any of those categories. Apparently he does not fit into any of the “all socio-economic sectors” considered worth mentioning.

If Shapiro were allowed to speak, he might be able to interpret what that list means.

How an accredited university could come up with a complete list of a student body that adds up to 82 percent, with some students apparently counted in two categories, might be understood by someone like Shapiro, who was smart enough to graduate from Harvard Law School, write seven books, as well as hosting a radio show and editing a news site.

It would be important to keep him away from students. It might hurt their self-esteem to be in close contact with a 35-year-old man with such an impressive list of accomplishments.

Spencer wrote that  GCU leaders “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.”

Isn’t that exactly what the Lord of Political Correctness demands of university administrators? Spinelessness instead of fearlessness. Teaching students to be afraid of hearing controversial speakers — even if the speakers are people with whom they tend to agree.

When Christian university presidents cower before the changing winds of political correctness, they will not be surprised when their students also bow to golden calves.

Ben Shapiro is a voice of reason at a time when the anti-Christian noisemakers in the media and academia are drowning out all other voices.

A Christian university should be honored to have Mr. Shapiro on campus. Many Christian universities have been flipped to anti-Christian schools during the past several centuries, out of fear of not conforming to the world around them.

Those who reject truth tellers out of fear are sliding down a slimy slope.

Based on GCU’s statement, and the twittersphere, banning Shapiro might have created more division and negative publicity that allowing him to speak might have done.

The GCU chapter of Young America’s Foundation (YAF) issued its own statement: “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. In recent semesters we’ve successfully hosted Andrew Klavan, Allie Stuckey, and Michael Knowles, all without any issues. GCU YAF will continue working with Young America’s Foundation to seek a reversal of this absurd decision.”


About Huey Freeman 6 Articles
Huey Freeman was a reporter at the Herald Review in Decatur Illinois. as a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois. He is married to Kate Freeman, with four grown children. His books include: Who Shot Nick Ivie? Legendary Locals of Decatur