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.