by Maxwell Brandon, USC Young Americans for Freedom
Last fall, the USC Young Americans for Freedom (USC YAF) brought Ben Shapiro to campus as part of Young America’s Foundation’s Fred Allen Lecture Series. The event drew thousands of students, filling our campus’s largest venue to capacity with hundreds more having to be turned away after we ran out of space. This success came despite multiple attempts by the USC Undergraduate Student Government (USG) to stifle the success of our Shapiro lecture.
Despite it being a new year and a new semester, USG is continuing their assault on conservatives.
A proposed piece of legislation seeks to grant USG’s Senate the authority to restrict and/or revoke funding from student organizations who are bringing speakers that fail to meet the new subjective standards of certain USG officials and students who voice opposition. This comes in response to the approval of security funding USC YAF had requested for our Ben Shapiro lecture after meeting the objective USG funding criteria.
As part of their stated “justification” for the new amendment, USG’s Meagan Lane and Adenike Makinde state erroneously that, “Ben Shapiro’s campus presence incited undue violence on the day of his presentation” and laughably lament that “There is no precedent for administrative intervention for guests who have been approved for campus attendance, but pose a threat to individual students or recognized groups.”
We view the proposal of this amendment to the USG Bylaws as a direct contradiction to the values of free speech as guaranteed under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and as a disservice to the USC community USG claims to represent. Such legislation denies to all students the access to intellectual diversity that is paramount to a well-rounded higher education.