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Rantz: Gonzaga relents, permits Ben Shapiro to appear on campus after ban

Ben Shapiro. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

After an appeal, Gonzaga University has relented, and will allow KTTH host and conservative speaker Ben Shapiro to appear on campus for a speech sponsored by the college Republican group.

The announcement by President Thayne McCulloh, made Monday, indicated the speech will take place at a space with “protocol that will provide a more appropriate level of safety and security.”

The school claimed to be originally concerned with security, thanks to Progressive activists who sometimes protest Shapiro, with the intent of shutting down speech they disagree with. Gonzaga further originally stated that some find Shapiro’s speeches to be “divisive and hateful speech, which is offensive to many people regardless of their age, politics or beliefs.”

But now, after intense pressure, McCulloh has sided with the free exchange of ideas.

“I appreciate that the students worked through the University’s appeals process as set forth in the Events Policy to address issues regarding safety and campus security, as well as engaged in discussion about the focus of the event,” McCulloh said in a statement. “As a comprehensive, faith-based and mission-centered university, we are committed to facilitating exposure to a broad range of intellectual ideas and debate, even as we simultaneously strive to uphold the values reflected in our mission statement. This process is reflective of our efforts to do both.”

While I’m happy with this move, it shouldn’t be celebrated. A college president shouldn’t have to rescind a ban on a conservative speaker coming to campus, controversial or not. Progressive activists will always find conservative speakers controversial, even if Shapiro isn’t, in fact, hateful or divisive. Colleges have ceded too much power to a small group or hypersensitive children. The ban shouldn’t have been allowed to occur in the first place.

You can hear Ben Shapiro every night from 6-9 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3).

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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