UConn College Republicans Invite Conservative Commentator Ben Shapiro To Speak On Campus

A Republican student group at the University of Connecticut has invited to campus conservative writer Ben Shapiro, whose talk “Say No To Campus Thuggery” sparked protests at University of California, Berkeley in the fall.

Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of conservative news and commentary site The Daily Wire, is participating in a national lecture series presented by The Young America’s Foundation, a conservative outreach organization.

According to the foundation, Shapiro will speak on campus Jan. 24, nearly two months after UConn College Republicans brought conservative commentator Lucian Wintrich to the university for a talk titled “It Is OK To Be White.”

Shapiro’s event is scheduled for 7 p.m. in a Laurel Hill lecture hall with room for about 400 people, according to the foundation. UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said those details are still being confirmed.

“We’re aware that the College Republicans have invited Mr. Shapiro to campus, but we’re still working with them on getting the timing and location finalized,” she said.

Wintrich’s speech on Nov. 28 ended in an altercation when police say an audience member took Wintrich’s speech from the lectern and Wintrich grabbed the woman to retrieve his notes. Police initially arrested Wintrich but later dropped charges against him and charged the woman, Catherine Gregory, an adviser at Quinebaug Valley Community College, with misdemeanor larceny and disorderly conduct.

The night of the speech, Shapiro shamed both parties on Twitter.

“1. Stealing people's notes is dumb and bad,” he wrote. “2. This is a NUTS response to someone stealing your notes.”

Shapiro is a podcast host and nonfiction author of a New York Times best-seller and several national best-sellers, included “Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth.”

In September, he was able to peacefully deliver a speech at UC Berkeley even as a crowd of protesters on campus grew to about 1,000 people. Police shut down portions of the campus and made nine arrests during the event.

Spencer Brown, spokesman for Young America’s Foundation, said he wasn’t aware of any efforts to block Shapiro from talking at UConn.

“I think given the climate on campuses today, that’s a reasonable concern for people to have when leftists continue to use violence to silence conservative ideas,” Brown said. “We haven’t heard of anything or anyone trying to target the event so far but obviously our hope is that anyone who hopes to hear Ben Shapiro and even debate him would show up and peacefully listen to the event.”

Shapiro’s talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session, during which attendees are welcome to express disagreement and challenge his ideas, Brown said.

Shapiro did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the topic of his speech.

While UConn College Republicans have not announced the event on the group’s Facebook page, it listed hosting Shapiro as a goal for 2018 in a New Year’s Day post.

“You folks are doing wonderful work, and I hope you continue to bring in speakers with diverse viewpoints,” one user responded.

Another said, “It’s nice to see some sane people are still wandering around the campus.”

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