Conservative Speaker Ben Shapiro Not Welcome on Concordia Moorhead Campus

Concerns over the left’s attacks on free speech, particularly on college campuses, made the front page above the fold this week in the Star Tribune. American Experiment’s John Hinderaker, who was quoted by the paper, blogged here on the security surrounding what not so long ago would have been an ordinary night out featuring conservative speaker Charlie Kirk at the University of Minnesota.

When we approached Anderson Hall, the site of Charlie Kirk’s speech, traffic barricades had been erected and the entrance was being guarded by at least a half dozen armed officers, both from the University of Minnesota campus police and the City of Minneapolis. Attendance at the speech was by registration only, and after running the gauntlet of armed officers, we had to give our names at a desk just inside the entrance to the building.

Not the most welcoming atmosphere for the free exchange of ideas. But at least Charlie Kirk got to speak. That’s more than can be said for Ben Shapiro, perhaps the most popular youngish conservative activist in demand these days on campuses across the country.

Shapiro was supposed to appear soon at Concordia College in Moorhead, but not anymore, according to the Fargo Forum.

Student leaders at Concordia College have rescinded their financial support to help bring in Ben Shapiro, a prominent conservative speaker whose expected appearance sparked an outcry on campus.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, Concordia’s Student Government Association, following an inaugural State of the Students address, voted 28-2 against funding Shapiro’s visit. More than 150 students and faculty filled Barry Auditorium for an hourlong discussion leading up to the vote that nullified a previous decision to fund the speaker.

The association voted 13-10 on Nov. 30 to allocate $7,080 to the campus chapter of right-leaning Young Americans for Freedom to fund an appearance by Shapiro. But that use of student funds drew criticism from some students, who objected to the subsidy.

The Student Government Association came to the conclusion that its first priority should be promoting diversity, not free speech. Diversity clearly does not include conservatives.

Some Concordia students, according to the motion to rescind funding, “have asserted that Shapiro’s harmful messages targeting LGBTQ+ communities and other marginalized identities is in direct opposition to the dedication of Concordia and Student Government Association to support diversity, equity, and inclusion of all persons from all backgrounds and identities.”

The conservative students behind Shapiro’s invitation didn’t mince words. Nor did Shapiro’s Daily Wire website.

The Young Americans for Freedom blasted the motion to rescind funding at Concordia, saying some student leaders were “eager to appease the minority of students” and calling those leaders “tyrants in training.”

The Daily Wire published a scathing denunciation of the move to rescind support for Shapiro’s appearance, saying the liberal backlash is part of a familiar pattern at campuses around the country.

“Bringing Ben Shapiro to campus would be a sign from Concordia College that they value intellectual and political diversity and that they care about the marginalized and underrepresented conservative voices on campus,” the Young Americans for Freedom at Concordia said in a statement.

It doesn’t help that a few months back, Concordia rolled out the red carpet for a far more controversial speaker on the left, Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King. But hey, the student government has offered to help hand pick Shapiro’s replacement as a consolation prize.

SGA vice president Will Kuball said the association is working with Young Americans for Freedom to find a more suitable speaker. Kuball added that “free speech doesn’t mean hate speech” and the decision to rescind funding was reflective of constituents.