Advanced

Ben Shapiro, Grand Canyon University

February 2019
Grand Canyon University (Private college or university)
Pheonix, AZ, USA

Identity of Speakers

  • Ben Shapiro
    Faculty/Staff
    Invited for non-academic lecture

    Ben Shapiro is an American conservative political commentator, public speaker, author, and former attorney.

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    University-sponsored lecture/address/panel
    Recognized student group event
  • Incident Responses:
    University administration not protective of speech
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • Incident Protested
  • Did not involve Speech Codes

Summary

In February 2019, Grand Canyon University cancelled an event where conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was scheduled to speak. Shapiro had been invited by the University’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter, who called the University’s decision to cancel “deeply disappointing” and “absurd.” Grand Canyon University, which is a private Christian university, issued a statement explaining that while it agreed with many of Shapiro’s views, it ultimately decided to cancel the event because it expected his appearance would create division. Rather than contribute to an already divisive political climate, the University expressed a “desire to focus on opportunities that bring people together.”

Shortly after cancelling Shapiro’s appearance, GCU reversed course after receiving heavy criticism from both students and conservative figures. Initially, the University directly invited Shapiro without the collaboration of the Young Americans for Freedom. Shapiro declined this invitation, refusing to visit the campus if GCU did not collaborate with YAF. Eventually, GCU and YAF reached an agreement and extended an offer to Shapiro which he accepted.

Upon taking stage to deliver his lecture, Shapiro thanked the university “for hosting me—eventually.”