Despite being active on a campus that portends to be conservative, the Grand Canyon University Young Americans for Freedom faced obstacles from administrators during the spring semester. GCU YAF has a strong record of carrying out successful activism projects and hosting lecture events without issue. Seeking to bolster discussion of conservative ideas and push back against apathy, GCU YAF chairman Connor Brinton explained, “our chapter felt that hosting Mr. Shapiro would help turn the tide of the conversations that were taking place on our campus.”
When GCU YAF began planning to host Shapiro, administrators attempted to block him from campus. After a four-month struggle, during which GCU leadership banned Shapiro, then banned Young America’s Foundation involvement in the event, GCU YAF succeeded in being allowed to proceed as originally planned, with Young America’s Foundation’s Fred Allen Lecture Series bringing Ben Shapiro to campus.
When news of the successful agreement to host Shapiro was announced, GCU’s students celebrated the win for conservative ideas and free expression. On the night of the lecture, more than 1,800 individuals filled the auditorium as hundreds were turned away due to fire code. To date, Shapiro’s GCU lecture has been viewed more than 240,000 times online. GCU YAF—which started the 2018-2019 school year as a small, relatively new organization on campus—grew tremendously due to their unwavering commitment to sharing conservative ideas and refusal to back down in the face of administrative pressure.
The following members of GCU YAF were instrumental in the chapter’s success: