U of M Faces Potential Lawsuit Over Barring Shapiro From Main Campus
The University of Minnesota continues to go out of its way to marginalize conservatives on campus. Perhaps the Republican-run Minnesota Legislature will find a way to make the bloated ranks of U of M administrators pay during the 2018 legislative session just underway.
But a national foundation may beat them to it with a potential lawsuit over the school’s foolish decision to banish Ben Shapiro, one of the most popular conservative speakers in the country, to the farm campus in St. Paul. Reports in the Star Tribune and other media note the U of M claims Shapiro represents a supposed security threat due to potential protests and violence on the left.
Yet the university itself represents a bigger threat to the group threatening legal action.
The Young America’s Foundation says the U has imposed unconstitutional restrictions on Shapiro’s scheduled Monday speech — and exiled him to what it calls the “cow campus” in St. Paul — because of his conservative views.
“Clearly they’re treating conservatives as second-class students,” Spencer Brown, a spokesman for the foundation in Reston, Va., said Wednesday.
In spite of the possible legal consequences, the university continues to stand its ground.
The foundation, which helps promote and fund Shapiro’s speaking tour, accused the U of caving in to the threat of protests. The university, it wrote, is “trampling the rights of individual students to appease the demands of the intolerant majority.”
In a Feb. 20 letter, the foundation notified the U that it is ready to file suit if it doesn’t change course. “We demand that the University of Minnesota respect the First Amendment rights of all its students, regardless of viewpoint, by allowing Ben Shapiro to speak at Willey Hall,” an 800-seat venue on the Minneapolis campus, the letter said.
Brown said that free tickets for Shapiro’s speech were claimed within 24 hours and that hundreds of people are on a waiting list. “A lot of students won’t have the opportunity to hear him because the university has chosen to treat conservative students this way,” he said.
At the same time, the school had no problem assigning a radical protest under the banner of “White Supremacy in the Age of Trump: An Anti-Racist Teach-In” to a prominent venue on the main Twin Cities campus. The group’s Facebook page says it all.
Together, we will combat white supremacy by:
-Mapping the connections between white extremist groups and American conservatism today
-Unpacking the ways white supremacy manifests itself in systems, language, and culture
-Fostering authentic relationships with a multi-racial coalition of concerned students, faculty, staff, and Twin Cities residents
Ultimately, the attempt by leftists in the U of M administration, faculty and student body to demonize and marginalize conservative voices only creates a bigger platform and audience for speakers like Shapiro, whose message to Minnesotans has already spread far beyond the confines of the cow campus where they believe they’ve bottled him up.