Bringing Ben Shapiro to campus goes against Concordia values

Recently, I heard a student complaining about how the Student Government Association approved a speaker to come on campus to give a speech. After a little inquiry, I learned that the speaker who was meant to come give the talk was Ben Shapiro. The first thing that came to my mind was to look him up and see who is. Although I had heard about him in the past, I didn’t want to make judgements based on what I thought I knew. Some of the first things that popped up on my search feed were his vehement opposition towards transgender individuals and his “destruction” of pro-abortion arguments. Now, I am all for freedom of speech and expression, because I think as humans, those are our basic human rights and we are entitled to express them how we want. However, one thing I will not stand for is using your freedom of speech to attack other people’s personal beliefs and lives. In one of the stories, I found he kept on referring to a transgender individual with the wrong pronouns even if he was corrected several times.

The question I have for the student organization that is planning to invite Shapiro is, “Why him?” I personally feel like there are many other conservative speakers who could have been invited to campus and who will have a more positive impact on the campus community. This student organization had to pass their budget through SGA for approval and this approval was accepted. I strongly believe that SGA should have given this organization another option of finding a better speaker, because approving this speaker who has been preaching diversity and inclusivity seems very two-faced. You cannot approve someone who does not support diversity to come speak at a campus that is looking to be more inclusive.

I have spoken to different conservatives and and liberals on campus and I can tell you that there is no way to get one person who can represent the set of values for each group. Also, considering the fact that it is going to be a tri-college event, I will really want to know what roles these other colleges play in this speaker’s event. Why didn’t MSUM or NDSU host Ben Shapiro considering the fact that they have a bigger space to host him and they also have a higher conservative population? If this event is going to be an on-campus event, how welcome will non-conservatives, non-Christian, non-heterosexual, females, and non-white individuals be at this talk? If minority students or faculty attend this talk, will there be a feeling of respect on both sides after this talk is held?

Concordia College, like any other college, is a place for learning and a place for sharing different perspectives and ideas. I just think we should do it in a respectful manner and this includes not allowing any form of hate or discrimination in the name of free speech. We should be able to have communications and conversations with different people without having to agree with them, but we should be respectful and understanding. If Ben Shapiro is going to give a speech at Concordia, myself and many others want to know what this talk is about if it finally gets to happen. If for some reason he doesn’t get to come due to one reason or another, will anyone get to replace him? From recent history and past stories, he doesn’t seem to have a good history with speaking on campuses and I hope that if he ends up making it to Concordia, we are able to speak up against any form of hateful speech that might be spread.

 

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    As a Concordia grad, the college LOVES diversity… except when it comes to diversity of ideas (specifically conservative viewpoints). Unfortunate that instead of using this opportunity for debate conversation, the student body just shut it down. I was there when Carl Rove was on campus. Great dialogue and debate happened because of it. This kind of thing is why I no longer donate money to the college

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    “Now, I am all for freedom of speech and expression, because I think as humans, those are our basic human rights and we are entitled to express them how we want. However, one thing I will not stand for is using your freedom of speech to attack other people’s personal beliefs and lives.”

    Translation: “Freedom of speech does not apply to those with whom I disagree.” The writer of this column has no clue what freedom of speech is. Freedom of speech is the ability to express outrage, disapproval, discontent and any other form of disagreement. It includes insults and compliments, bad jokes and inappropriate satire. And yes…according to the Supreme Court and the bedrock foundation of this country…it includes “hate speech” of all kinds. The government, in this case this pathetic little college, cannot limit free speech based on content. Which is exactly what de-funding this speech does. Shame on all of the people who changed their vote to allow the heckler’s veto to win again. You are a disgrace to the First Amendment and this columnist is a disgrace to journalistic ideals.

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    “Why him?” Why not him? Free country and all that comes with it.

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    Please offer direct quotes of his “hate” remarks to back up your article. I have listened to around 200 hours of Ben online, and so far I have not heard anything that is true hate. He is not afraid to recite facts of demographics and biology, but that is not hate. My parents, cousins, and other relatives all went to Concordia, and it’s sad to see the college cannot tolerate an intellectual counter-argument to the liberal bubble.

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    So you support free speech as long as it conforms to your beliefs and values? Scary thought.

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      “We should be able to have communications and conversations with different people without having to agree with them, but we should be respectful and understanding” (quite from the article)

      The writer has clearly pointed out that free speech should be used responsibly. Nothing about others having to conform to her own values and beliefs… but the most important message she is trying to pass across is that when using this freedom of speech, one should use it in a respectful and understanding way that promotes healthy dialogue.

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        typo: “quote from the article” not “quite from the article”

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    Shapiro is an orthodox Jew. The writer insinuates that he is a white Christian male, which is not true. The author makes claims that Shapiro uses hate speech toward certain groups but fails to cite even one example. Calling someone by abpronoun they do not prefer is not hate speech. Please, do some research.
    The author also says that the event should be held at a campus with more conservative students. Are we really trying to segregate ourselves based on political ideology? That is absurd. The point of having a political speaker on campus is to challenge beliefs. It does no good for someone to come speak into an echo chamber. I don’t like to use the term snowflake, but there are times where it becomes warranted.

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    You are not for freedom of speech. You proved that when you made the case that Ben Shapiro shouldn’t speak citing hateful rhetoric without even offering specifics. You probably intentionally glossed over the fact that Ben Shapiro DOES value the mother’s life over the child when the mother would die if she gives birth. What he is against is people having abortions due to convienince or because they are frightened of the prospect of having a child with complications. It’s obvious the only reason you are not having him speak anymore is because he holds conservative views. If you really cared about free speech you would allow him to speak and have enough courtesy to know that your students have enough intelligence to debunk the views of false. You care nothing for challenging your students. You only care to shield your own self from critical thinking. Sad thing is you’ll continue to prove me right by finding some backwards way to justify treating adults like children. Shielding them from certain opinions cause you view them as a bad influence. As a college graduate myself who spent 3 years at a university in which I did not totally agree with every speaker brought on campus, I am ashamed in the actions you have taken. This is not a way to oppose views from what you see as the opposition. If anything it only makes them more appealing. There are many ways you could have handled this, but you chose with the side that stifles free speech and makes it seem like you still regard your students as children, incapable of critical thinking over a controversial issue. Shame on you and I hope you read this without immediately trying to justify your actions with a, “but, because, you see, well the reason why, etc.

    Thank you and have a wonderful day,
    Robert Morris

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    You let Shaun King come speak early this year and he represents Concordia values? If King does than that says about the warped values of Concordia.

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    Ms. Agbashi, while I think your concerns based on your research have some validation, I encourage you to actually listen to one of his debates. At the end of his debates, he encourages the people who DON’T agree with him to ask their questions (or object to his viewpoints), first; they go to the front of the line.

    With regard to the transgender front, I disagree with a majority of his views, but he does not call for violence or abuse towards transgender individuals. His major issue is parents who encourage their children to take hormone altering drugs at a young age due to gender fluidity. I think that there is a legitimate debate to be had, about parental strategies for a child who is transgender.

    If your university ends up hosting him, I would encourage transgender people (and advocates), to attend; not to disrupt, but to legitimately voice their perspective and change his mind on fluidity. His whole motto is ‘facts don’t care about your feelings’, so the best way to battle him is to prepare, step up your research, and be ready to counter the points he makes.

    His debate style is infectious, and even if you disagree with his perspectives, your student body opponents can use this as solid practice with oration and debate skills sharpening. I encourage you to listen through one of his speeches in its entirety (even if you feel it will be incredibly excruciating to you, based on your political views). He is not the monster Alt+Right spewing incessant hate that many others like Milo and Richard Spencer do.

    I think you wrote a very thoughtful article without hurling the usual white supremacist and fascist insults that many of his other opponents do, which is why I am making a reasonable plea to a reasonable person. Best of luck with whatever your University decides to do.

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    To paraphrase: I am all about free speech as long as it agrees with my beliefs.

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    “In one of the stories, I found he kept on referring to a transgender individual with the wrong pronouns even if he was corrected several times.” Mr. Shapiro has stated that he believes transgenderism to be a mental disorder. He has also stated that he doesn’t believe that, as a transgender, you should be bullied or denigrated because of that. But rather, in Mr. Shapiro’s words, you would be forcing him to use pronouns to describe a person that does not accurately describe them biologically, and thus adds to the so called false narrative of the incorrect recognition of transgenderism as a societal norm. Therefore, what he is trying to convey is that even if you are biologically a male but believe yourself to be female he is not trying to deny you of your own thoughts. But you cannot require him, Mr. Shapiro, to falsely acknowledge a scientific fallacy.

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    “If this event is going to be an on-campus event, how welcome will non-conservatives, non-Christian, non-heterosexual, females, and non-white individuals be at this talk?” I believe that Mr. Shapiro would have no issue with any of those groups coming to a speech of his and having civil debate or discussions. If members of those said groups showed up to cause disruption, then I would believe that any common sense person would not welcome that environment into what should be an educational experience. I have been trying to follow Mr. Shapiro’s talks lately as I have similar views on many of the topics he discusses, and I do not believe him to be a hateful person. I do believe him to be a well spoken and fair speaker for a large group of conservatives that do not want to necessarily be dismissed simply because of political sides. Instead, I have seen that he debates his point of view with a civil demeanor and is open to conversation about hot topics as long as both sides can stay civil about the discussion.

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