Gonzaga University blocks Ben Shapiro event, citing school’s Christian mission
Gonzaga University in Washington State has blocked a proposal to host Jewish conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro, citing the school’s Christian mission to “stand in solidarity” with marginalized communities and to protect students and staff from a hostile campus environment.
Judi Biggs Garbuio, vice president of student development at the private Catholic school in Spokane, recently denied a request by the school’s College Republicans chapter to invite The Daily Wire founder to campus in the spring of next year.
In a response to the event request, obtained Thursday by Campus Reform, Ms. Biggs Garbuio said the decision to deny the request was based on four provisions outlined by school policy that prohibits events that run contrary to its Jesuit mission.
“Mr. Shapiro’s appearances routinely draws protests that include extremely divisive and hateful speech and behavior, which is offensive to many people, regardless of their age, politics or beliefs,” one of the provisions stated.
“Gonzaga University is committed to the human dignity of every individual,” Ms. Biggs Garbuio explained in another provision. “This is the core of our mission based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, and the foundations of the Society of Jesus. We stand in solidarity with vulnerable members of our community who may be targeted for discrimination, ridicule, or harassment by others.”
The third provision stated that the school has a duty to “prevent our campus from becoming a hostile environment for employees and students.”
“Gonzaga’s events policy requires us to consider whether an event would pose substantial risk to the safety … of our campus community,” the fourth provision stated. “In light of what has occurred on other campuses, our security team has raised questions about whether we can adequately secure a campus venue. … We do not feel we can guarantee the level of security necessary for all.”
Cody Meyer, vice president of the school’s College Republicans chapter, blasted the decision.
“When an idea or figure arises who does not support the politically biased narrative Gonzaga clings to, our university can dismiss it as hate and intolerance,” he told Campus Reform. “I urge Gonzaga to reconsider this decision and support the fundamentals of the Jesuit university to which I belong.”
Mr. Shapiro briefly addressed the issue on Facebook, writing, “Would have loved to come out, gang.”
Young America’s Foundation (YAF) spokesman Spencer Brown noted that the same university had no problem hosting former Black Panther Party members and avowed communist Angela Davis on campus last year.
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