A group of student activists at USC has decried an upcoming speech by conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro — calling it a threat to minority students — and attempted to reserve seats in the venue in a effort to sabotage and shut the speech down.
Shapiro is scheduled to appear at the private school Oct. 4 for a speech titled “Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings.” The USC Undergraduate Student Government agreed to provide $4,100 in funding for the event, hosted by Young Americans For Freedom at USC.
In response, campus groups launched the hashtag “#SoundTheAlarm,” saying “the safety and lives of minority communities on the University of Southern California’s campus is in harm’s way” because of the speech. In a statement, the student activists alleged Shapiro supports the “eradication of entire races” and added “we refuse to be intimidated out of advocating for our community’s safety against hate, violence, and discrimination.”
Screenshots obtained by The College Fix from Young America’s Foundation show that there were seats falsely reserved in the venue to host Shapiro. One shows numerous tickets purchased under the names “youre anatzi,” “fuck off,” and “no hate speech,” among other names. Another screenshot shows a USC student alerting peers “we’re trying to reserve as many tickets as possible to shut it down.” A third shows a student acknowledging “we might protest from the inside, that’s why we’re all getting these tickets so we can disrupt it once it starts.”
— Black Trojan (@USCBSA) September 21, 2018
Spencer Brown, a spokesman for YAF, told The College Fix that the shut down effort is one of the “dirty tricks” leftists sometimes employ to preserve their ideological echo chamber on campus.
In reaction to the ticket sabotage, leaders of Young Americans For Freedom at USC “canceled tickets reserved by student leaders who criticized the event, fearing they would cause a disruption,” the Daily Trojan campus newspaper reports. That might cause the USC Undergraduate Student Government to revoke the funding it granted, because events that receive discretionary funding must be free for all students, the Trojan added.
But YAF chairman Maxwell Brandon told the Trojan his group is confident its decision to cancel certain tickets shown to be made under false names or by those who have said they plan to disrupt the event will not cause the funding to be withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the event is sold out and YAF plans to have a stand-by line for those who can fill the seats if and when a walk out takes place or disruptors are escorted out, according to the group’s Facebook page. YAF also called “wildly inaccurate” the student activists’ claim that Shapiro supports the “eradication of entire races.”
Leading the charge against the Shapiro event are the Black Student Assembly, Latinx Student Assembly and Asian Pacific American Student Assembly, the Daily Trojan reports. In addition to their complaint that the speech will endanger minorities, they also voiced concern about the police presence expected to keep the peace during the event.
A “Say NO to Shapiro” counter-protest has been scheduled for the same time and day of the Shapiro speech. That demonstration is hosted by USC Students for Justice in Palestine, according to its Facebook page.
“Racist, transphobic, misogynist, and Islamophobic provocateur Ben Shapiro has been invited to speak on the USC campus at Bovard Auditorium. Join us in resisting white supremacy on our campus and defending the South LA and USC community from this bigotry! Hate speech will never be tolerated – share the word to friends, family, and community as we protest to say #NoToShapiro,” the event page states.